Sony-owned indie lands contract for 2024 Paris games

Whisper has won the tender to produce Channel 4’s coverage of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, having previously been responsible for the broadcaster’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The Sony-owned indie also produced the Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics in 2018 and the Beijing edition earlier this year.

Whisper won the competitive tender by demonstrating its alignment with C4’s Paralympic aspirations, according to Pete Andrews, head of sport.

“Channel 4’s ground-breaking coverage of the Paralympics has received worldwide recognition and we’re committed to further pushing the boundaries in terms of how we deliver Paralympic sport to our audiences,” he said.

Mark Cole, managing director of Whisper, said that delivering the Tokyo 2020 games was a “stand out moment” for the indie and that an anticipated reduction in Covid restrictions for the Paris Paralympics will allow for more creativity and ambition.

“We always aim to appeal to a large, diverse audience and to entertain, while telling the athlete’s incredible stories and that of the games,” he said. “We remain committed to ensuring we have strong disabled representation on screen and behind the camera, which goes beyond the Paralympics production period.”

C4 first became the UK home of the Paralympics for the London 2012 edition and chief exec Alex Mahon said that its decade-long coverage of the event has helped “change the hearts and minds” of its viewers.

“Not only have we helped to positively change public perceptions of disability, but as a broadcaster, create real opportunities for disabled people to forge their broadcast careers on and off screen,” she said.

During public debate over C4’s privatisation, Mahon has repeatedly suggested that the Paralympics is the type of public service programming that a profit-driven C4 would be unlikely to broadcast. She recently told a DCMS committee that:

“Innovation and distinctiveness is hard to do while seeking to maximise for profit because it involves taking significant creative risks on new talent, on social diverse topics and things that might not work which we are very motivated to do.

“A simple example would be the Paralympics. We know that other commercial broadcasters did not bid for the Paralympics when Channel 4 did. It is expensive to do [but] we believe it to be very important work.”