We welcome the Government’s decision that Channel 4 will remain in public ownership. This decision provides a firm basis on which to establish the sustainable direction of Channel 4, safely in the hands of the British people.
DCMS having thoroughly examined the business case concluded that the privatisation of Channel 4 is not the best way to ensure its long term sustainability. Furthermore, its decision allows us to do even more to support creative jobs and skills across the UK, to inspire and develop the UK’s world-leading creative industries, and to continue opening up the sector for those aspiring to a career in TV and film.
For over 40 years Channel 4 has been a keystone of Britain’s universal, free, public service broadcasting architecture. We have spoken up for diverse and young audiences across the UK, nurtured new talent and held power to account. But standing still has never been an option for Channel 4 throughout our history. Indeed, our next stage of evolution is already well under way.
In more recent years we have extended a digital embrace to Britain’s young people. We have invested more in creative production companies in their own communities, the length and breadth of the UK. We have put record amounts into TV and film content, consistently showing original, relevant and challenging television.
In the future we will double our investment in 4Skills, training a new cohort of TV professionals from all places and all backgrounds. We are determined to make it true that neither where you live nor what your parents do are barriers to a career in our extraordinary industry.
The Government has declared its intention to legislate to remove the publisher-broadcaster requirement that currently applies to Channel 4. We welcome the Government's commitment to engage closely with the independent production sector about the potential impact of this proposal, and we await further detail. We will contribute constructively to these discussions.
Channel 4 is grateful to all those who have contributed to the debate about how best not just to preserve, but also to magnify our contribution to the industry, to local communities and to wider culture in Britain and abroad.
Distinctly British content for British audiences, and honest and impartial news, have never been more vital. The depth of our relationships with our production partners, and our unrivalled ability to discover new voices, gives Channel 4 a precious link to the British public. To this, we remain committed. We look forward to delighting audiences and supporting British creativity for the next four decades and beyond.
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4, said:
“The principle of public ownership for Channel 4 is now set for the foreseeable future, a decision which allows us to be even more of a power in the digital world.
“Channel 4 is innovative, editorially brilliant and loved by audiences that others don’t reach, most of all the young and underrepresented. In the analogue world, we did this spectacularly. Now, in the digital era, we are doing it again. Working with the world-leading TV and film producers of the UK, we continue to give birth to ideas that thrill audiences and change perspectives globally.
“Five years ago, we committed to representing the whole of the UK on screen and to growing our impact across the Nations and Regions. Most recently, we took on the job of removing obstacles for young people who thought a career in this industry was somehow not for them.
“I am personally delighted that we will be able to do more, making positive change for the people that others don’t fight for. We will move faster, invest more, take more risks, break down barriers and push boundaries; getting up to do that every day is an utter privilege for those of us lucky enough to work at Channel 4.”
About Channel 4
Channel 4 exists to create change through entertainment. Publicly owned yet commercially funded, Channel 4 generates significant and sustainable cultural, economic and social impact across the UK – at no cost to the taxpayer.
The broadcaster’s distinctive remit is set by Parliament, and it has a role to represent unheard voices, challenge with purpose and reinvent entertainment. For 40 years, it has been a British success story, engaging generation after generation of young people.
Through a unique publisher-broadcaster model, Channel 4 commissions its content from the UK independent production sector. Working with around 300 creative companies every year, Channel 4 makes a major contribution to the local, regional and national economy, creating and supporting thousands of jobs and businesses across the country.
In 2020, Channel 4 launched its Future4 strategy to become a digital-first public service media company and to continue to deliver significant impact for UK audiences and investment into the UK creative economy.
Across its bases in London, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow, Channel 4 is turbocharging its efforts to find, nurture and develop talent across the UK. Through its training and development initiative 4Skills, Channel 4 is opening up opportunities in broadcasting, with a particular focus on disadvantaged young people, and addressing skills gaps across the Nations and Regions.
Channel 4 has the UK’s biggest free streaming service, All 4, plus 11 television channels including: Channel 4, E4, E4 Extra, More4, Film4, 4Seven and The Box Plus Network. Through Film4 Productions, Channel 4 also invests in British filmmakers to huge critical acclaim, producing 37 Oscar wins and 84 BAFTA wins in its history.