Channel 4’s privatization removes restrictions on the production and sale of its own content

Channel 4’s privatization will lift restrictions that “effectively prohibit the broadcaster” from producing and selling its own content, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.

The government white paper released on Thursday is the first look at proposed plans for Channel 4 following the privatization announcement.

It said the publicly-owned channel has limited ability to borrow or raise capital by issuing shares, and its current structure “effectively prevents it from creating its own content” – given its heavy reliance on advertising revenue is.


The Channel 4 Building in London (Ian West/PA)

The privatization will give Channel 4 access to capital and the freedom to create its own content, allowing it to diversify its revenue streams, the proposal said.

Channel 4 must commission a minimum amount of programming from independent producers and must maintain its commitment to local production outside of London and England.

Similarly, the channel must continue to provide programming that “represents the broader community” and maintain commitments to original programming, quality news and current affairs.

Some of the proceeds from the sale of Channel 4 will be used to deliver a new creative dividend for the sector, the proposal added.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “Channel 4 will study the white paper issued by DCMS and a considered response will follow.

“However, Channel 4 remains committed to upholding and maximizing its mission and charitable purpose, which has enabled it to shape the UK’s creative culture and make a meaningful contribution to the creative industries, whilst serving the nations and regions of the UK invests to create local and regional economic and social benefits.”

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In April, the government confirmed it was proceeding with plans to privatize Channel 4, which was founded in 1982 to cater to an underserved audience after concerns over its survival in the streaming era.

Since the announcement, the government has faced heavy criticism.


Lucy Powell MP (Peter Byrne/PA)

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said: “The sale of Channel 4 in the middle of a cost of living crisis will have voters scratching their heads at how this will help pay their bills.

“It will likely mean less British-produced programming for British audiences and less support for British jobs across the country.

“As we heard in Parliament yesterday, when Channel 4 doesn’t cost the taxpayer a penny, has a mandate to invest in small independent production companies in the regions and nations and delivers a strong pipeline of young people, the government has a very weak argument, eclectic Talent.

“Your arguments do not stand up to scrutiny, which is why Tory MP after Tory MP has opposed the central proposal in this White Paper.”

Fellow Conservative Michael Grade, recently appointed Ofcom’s new leader, has previously advocated for Channel 4 to be privatised.

The channel is currently owned by the government and funded by advertising.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/channel-4-privatisation-removes-restriction-on-producing-and-selling-own-content-41594815.html Channel 4’s privatization removes restrictions on the production and sale of its own content

Fry Electronics Team

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