Stuart Cosgrove, Channel 4's head of programmes (nations and regions), explains that their new fund 4IP - which he helped to develop - is "probably one of the biggest single interventions in publicly useful social media in Britain".
It will bring a change in the culture of Channel 4 from traditional top-down broadcaster, to a media company where what used to be the audience are participants in the creation of new content, together making a major social impact.
"One of the objectives is to create an entirely new connective opportunity in media, and one of the things that we will be trying to do is bring about a step change in our own thinking and go through that a significant phase of cultural renewal in Channel 4.
"Channel 4, because of its roots in television broadasting, has probably traditionally seen communication from a top-down view ... and clearly within web-enabled social media almost the reverse is true. So I think that for us 4IP is not only that we can do more with other people as partners, it requires us to radically transform the means by which we distribute, produce, work, and solicit information and ideas - it is a really, really big opportunity.
"Channel 4 has always managed to occupy a unique place in British contemporary popular culture in that that we are required by the process of how we raise money to be commercially motivated and thinking, but we have a very important public license to discharge. I think that the interface of the commercial and public is at the core of what's different about channel 4, and therefore what's different about 4IP.
"We want things that are socially and publicly useful, we want things that are challenging, we want things that connect to a bigger wider audience of people - so it has to be that connectivity that is important.
"We don't want to be making merely niche media for its own sake. We want to have an impact, and that impact means that people will feel fired. But of course firing people's imagination means you have to touch their soul, their hearts, their creative juices - you have to make them part of the story.
"They can make the story for you - they are not only partners, but participants ... sometimes they can do things that overwhelm you, sometimes they can do things that sneak up behind you - and that's what's exciting about the new media - that it cannot be centrally controlled by one authoring principle".
Stuart added that the fundamental distinction between the broadcaster and the audience is eroding. People are no long just the consumers of content, but rather participants in the creation of content. They have the means to produce own content from their desktop which previously required studios, expensive equipment and an engineering infrastructure.