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Channel 4 ‘disappointed’ as Government proceeds with privatisation plans

Channel 4 has mentioned it’s “disappointed” on the Government’s resolution to proceed with plans to privatise the broadcaster with out “formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised”.

The Government, which presently owns the channel, has been consulting on whether or not to privatise the broadcaster following considerations for its survival within the streaming period.

An announcement by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport mentioned it had made the choice to permit the channel to “thrive in the face of a rapidly-changing media landscape” whereas a Government supply mentioned the transfer would “remove Channel 4’s straitjacket”.

An announcement by Channel 4 mentioned: “With over 60,000 submissions to the Government’s public consultation, it is disappointing that today’s announcement has been made without formally recognising the significant public interest concerns which have been raised.

“Channel 4 has engaged in good faith with the Government throughout the consultation process, demonstrating how it can continue to commission much-loved programmes from the independent sector across the UK that represent and celebrate every aspect of British life as well as increase its contribution to society, while maintaining ownership by the public.”

The channel defined that it offered the Government with a substitute for privatisation that will “safeguard its future financial stability” and permit it to do extra for the general public, artistic industries and the economic system.

The channel’s chief govt Alex Mahon additionally mentioned in an inside e-mail to employees on Monday that they’d proposed a “vision for the next 40 years” which was rooted in “continued public ownership” and “built upon the huge amount of public value this model has delivered to date and the opportunity to deliver so much more in the future”.

However, she added that finally the possession of the channel was for the “Government to propose and Parliament to decide” and that her precedence now was to “look after all of you and the wonderful Channel 4 spirit”.

The broadcaster mentioned that it’s going to proceed to have interaction with the Government throughout the legislative course of and plans to do every part it will possibly to “ensure that Channel 4 continues to play its unique part in Britain’s creative ecology and national life”.

No price ticket has been set by the Government but, however experiences counsel the channel might be offered for as a lot as £1 billion in a course of that would take a number of months, with the proposals needing to cross by means of each the House of Commons and Lords.

Channel 4 was based in 1982 to ship to under-served audiences and presently receives its funding from promoting.

Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon (Yui Mok/PA)

(PA Archive)

In a press release, a DCMS spokesperson mentioned: “Following an extensive consultation on the future ownership of Channel 4, the Culture Secretary has come to a decision and is now consulting with Cabinet colleagues.

“We want Channel 4 to flourish and thrive in the face of a rapidly-changing media landscape. It holds a cherished place in our broadcasting landscape and we want that to remain the case.

“We set out our preferred option for a change of ownership to give the corporation new freedoms to innovate and grow while continuing to make an important economic, social and cultural contribution to the UK. We will announce further details shortly.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries added in a tweet that she needed the broadcaster to stay a “cherished place in British life”, however felt that authorities possession was “holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”.

She added: “I will seek to reinvest the proceeds of the sale into levelling up the creative sector, putting money into independent production and creative skills in priority parts of the country – delivering a creative dividend for all.”

Other ministers haven’t been as supportive of the announcement, with Tory MP Sir Peter Bottomley saying he opposes the privatisation as he feels it’s “bad for the diversity of television, bad for viewers and bad for independent producers”.

While Labour’s shadow tradition secretary Lucy Powell described the transfer as “cultural vandalism”.

She mentioned: (*4*)

John McVay, chief govt of the commerce physique Pact – which represents UK impartial manufacturing firms, added that he felt privatising the channel was “unnecessary” and risked damaging the UK’s TV and movie manufacturing business.

He defined: “Unlike other broadcasters, it makes none of its programmes in-house – but a private owner could shift production away from independent producers to cut costs, with a knock-on impact on the wider industry.

“Selling it off now risks reducing the opportunities for independent producers, and reducing the amount of programming commissioned outside London – levelling down, not levelling up. It isn’t too late for the Government to think again.”

Philippa Childs, the pinnacle of the broadcasting, leisure, communications and theatre union, described the motion as a “short-sighted sale of an incredible UK asset”.

She added: “This cynical move prioritises the interests of shareholders ahead of public service and ignores myriad responses to the Government’s consultation, and vehement opposition from the industry.

“The Government is yet to present any evidence that a change in ownership would benefit both Channel 4 or the public.

“Bectu condemns this short sighted and destructive move that deals a major blow to the UK’s creative sector, the creative economy and jobs of UK freelancers. With the creative industries amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic, and continuing to face a chronic skills shortage, there is no worse time to introduce such uncertainty, particularly for independent producers.”

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