What is Channel 4?

Channel 4 is a publicly-owned and commercially-funded UK public service broadcaster, with a statutory remit to deliver high-quality, innovative, alternative content that challenges the status quo.

Channel 4 was set up with a unique model as a ‘publisher-broadcaster’, meaning that we do not have any in-house production, but instead commission content from production companies throughout the UK.

We are a self-sufficient business that reinvests all profits back into programmes, at zero cost to the taxpayer. A ‘Robin Hood’ model of cross-funding means programmes that make money pay for others that are key to delivering our remit but that are loss-making e.g. News and Current Affairs.

Our twin goals as a content provider and business are to fulfil our remit and to be commercially self-sufficient.

Statutory public service remit – 15 elements, including:

  • Be innovative and distinctive
  • Stimulate public debate on contemporary issues
  • Reflect cultural diversity of the UK
  • Champion alternative points of view
  • Inspire change in people's lives
  • Nurture new and existing talent

State-owned public service broadcaster

  • Established as a statutory corporation
  • Regulated by Ofcom
  • Subject to 16 licence quotas and other requirements, including:
    • News and Current Affairs
    • Originally commissioned programmes
    • Out of London commissioning
    • Access services

Social enterprise model

  • Commercially funded
  • Not-for-profit: all surplus goes back into content
  • Robin Hood system of profit-making genres such as Factual Entertainment cross-funding loss-making ones like News and Current Affairs


  • No in-house production unlike the BBC, ITV or Sky
  • 100% of UK programmes commissioned from UK production companies
  • Supports wide range of companies across the Nations and Regions
  • Works with large number of SMEs