Channel 4 invests in Whisper Films
I'm so excited to tell you that Channel 4 have invested in my production company, Whisper Films.
It started out as a seemingly over-ambitious dream of mine, David Coulthard, and our colleague Sunil Patel.
I remember thinking at the time, 'Us? Setting up our own production team? We can't do that?!'
Well, five years later we are part of the Channel 4 family and we're ready to grow.
The moral of the story? Have a dream, and go for it, even when that little voice in your head doesn't believe you!
PRESS RELEASE: Channel 4 invests in sports indie Whisper Films
Founders Sunil Patel, David Coulthard and Jake Humphrey to hire new Head of Television following Growth Fund backing.
Channel 4 today announced it has taken a minority stake in Whisper Films, an ambitious sports production company with an established reputation for creating high quality sports programmes, further diversifying its Growth Fund investment portfolio.
Set up by Sunil Patel, David Coulthard and Jake Humphrey in 2010, Whisper Films has built a strong slate of sports-related programming including films for global brands within Formula 1 such as Red Bull, UBS, Shell, Casio and Hugo Boss; several short films for the BBC; highlights programming for ITV; a one-off documentary for BBC One, Racing With The Hamiltons: Nic In The Driving Seat (1x60’) commissioned as part of the BBC’s Beyond Disability season; and two international documentaries, Horse Power and Road to 2015, placed with many major networks including NBC, Sky Atlantic and BBC World.
Following Channel 4’s Growth Fund investment, Whisper Films will shortly hire a new Head of Television and a small development team to leverage the company’s extensive contacts and develop the television production arm of the business.
Sunil Patel was previously a producer for BBC Sport where he worked across all sports including the RTS award winning Euro 2008, Match of the Day, the Olympics, Wimbledon, The Open – and was most recently instrumental in its BAFTA TV award winning Formula 1 coverage. He has also worked at Sky and IMG.
David Coulthard is a former Formula 1 racing driver who won 13 Grand Prix during his career. He is now a pundit and co-commentator for BBC Sport’s Formula 1 coverage and a brand ambassador for several blue chip companies.
TV presenter and journalist Jake Humphrey is the presenter of BT Sport football coverage and previously presented BBC Sport’s Formula 1 coverage from 2009-2012, including the BAFTA TV award winning coverage of the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The trio are a close creative team and bring the wealth of their experience from their different fields within the industry to all their productions.
David Abraham, Chief Executive at Channel 4 said: “Sports production is an important part of the industry and I’m excited that we’re making our first Growth Fund investment in this area. Whisper is a highly creative and well connected company that makes incredibly high end sports programming through its branded content division. We’re looking forward to working with Sunil, David and Jake to help them continue to grow their business as they develop their ambitions to move into TV production.”
Sunil Patel, MD of Whisper Films said: “Our partnership with Channel 4 is a fantastic springboard to showcase Whisper Films’ collective experience, creativity and enthusiasm to the broadcast world. We can’t wait to get started on expanding our business to excel in new genres and nurture our valued reputation for distinctive sport and branded content to achieve significant growth in the years to come.”
Laura Franses, Head of Fund at Channel 4 said: “We’re delighted to add our eighth investment to the rapidly expanding and diversifying Growth Fund. It’s great to find a very ambitious early stage company with a skilful exciting management team from a different discipline.”
Whisper Films have newly relocated from Ealing Studios to larger premises in Power Road Studios, Chiswick, London in preparation of expanding their operation.
Channel 4’s £20m Growth Fund was established to support the UK independent production sector outside of the normal commissioning cycle by providing access to funding for small to medium sized creative companies. Since its launch in 2014, Channel 4 has now invested in eight companies. The Growth Fund investment portfolio also includes: Arrow Media, Eleven Film, Lightbox, Popkorn, Renowned Films, True North and Voltage TV.