The director of the trade agency called on the new Culture Minister to review the Channel 4 plan

The CEO of a trade body has urged the new Culture Secretary to reconsider privatizing Channel 4 because he feels it is a “great way to take private money from advertisers and pour into the UK economy”.

After Nadine Dorries stepped down from the role on Tuesday, the chief executive officer of Producers’ Alliance for Film and Television (Pact), which represents the independent television production sector, said it would is a “nonsense” decision to continue as a broadcaster, fully funded by advertising, other than public ownership.

Liz Truss appointed Michelle Donelan as the new Culture Secretary on Tuesday night.

Earlier this year, the Government announced its intention to privatize Channel 4, arguing that the broadcaster would struggle to survive amid a media increasingly dominated by major streaming giants such as Netflix.


Former Culture Minister Nadine Dorries (James Manning/PA)

In a press conference with the media, Pact chief executive John McVay said Channel Four is “a great way to take private money from advertisers and pour it into the UK economy” and put question whether changing this approach is a wise decision given the state of the economy.

Is this really what you want to do as we’re about to enter the worst inflationary recession we’ve seen since the 1970s?

“Is this really the best thing to do? Is this really at the top of your to-do list? Give something money, give it to my members, 100% it goes to small and medium businesses across the UK, and they put it in wages and IP a global opportunity and opportunity .

“It was nonsense 18 months ago, now it’s even more absurd.”

Mr McVay said Pact would urge the new culture minister to “totally reconsider” the privatization of Channel 4.

He added: “Put it out of the Communications Act, through legislation, because if Channel Four is still there, there will be problems.

“We’re going to make sure this doesn’t get through the Commons or the Lords on a mandate.”

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Mr McVay said the topic could be revisited later but said one of its think-tanks surveyed Tory party members who had just voted, largely for the new prime minister, and found this to be the case. not on their priority list.

“This is the crux of what the government should focus on,” he said.

“So if you listen to your membership to be Prime Minister, listen to your membership when it comes to what the priorities are.”

This comes after more than 750 independent manufacturing companies in the UK last week signed an open letter to a future prime minister calling on them to halt the Government’s plan to privatize Channel 4.

The letter suggests that the move to in-house production will result in a £4.2 billion loss in the independent film and television sector over the next decade.

It added manufacturing companies outside of London would be hit hard as existing plans would cut the level of spending needed from Channel 4 in countries and regions.

Pact’s annual Census, released on Wednesday, has revealed TV production revenue is almost back to pre-Covid levels, growing 13% in 2021 to £3.251bn, just £79m lower than with pre-Covid revenue in 2019.

The review states that industry innovations as well as the Government’s Restart Production Scheme mean that production has been able to return to near full capacity.

It said the recovery was supported by the resumption of many products delayed from 2020.

The census also shows international activity continues to be an important source of UK revenue in 2021 but it is still down from the 2020 figure, which Pact said could be partly due to disruptions. period caused by Covid-19.

Revenue generated from international digital pilot operations from on-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon is also down by £57 million in 2021.

While UK digital commission revenue from platforms such as BBC iPlayer and All 4 grows in 2021 to £67 million, up 191% in 2020. However, the figure is only 3, 6% of total UK main commission revenue as a large part comes from linear TV channels. The director of the trade agency called on the new Culture Minister to review the Channel 4 plan

Fry Electronics Team

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