UK Government Confirms Channel 4 Sale Is Off

The UK government has confirmed channel 4 will not be sold.

The decision represents a dramatic U-turn Rishi SunakConservatives, who had previously been pushing for privatization against the advice of 96% of respondents to a government consultation on the matter nadin doris Culture Secretary.

doris’s successor michelle donnellan There has since been an inquiry into the business case of Channel 4 remaining in public hands and a recommendation not to go ahead with the sale, which was ratified by 10 Downing Street.

“Channel 4 is a British success story and a linchpin of our thriving creative industries,” said Donnellan. “After reviewing the business case and engaging with relevant sectors I have taken the decision that Channel 4 should not be sold.”

in news that was leaked yesterday and was obtained by news agent Journalist Louise Goodall, Donnellan has instead released a “stability package” containing an “ambitious package of measures”, allowing Channel 4 to produce shows in-house for the first time, skills investment outside London and increased jobs and Will see able to borrow it. Raised the limit. How the in-house target is achieved will be carefully scrutinized in the coming months by the UK production sector, many of whom have used Channel 4 IP as a base to grow their businesses.

“This announcement will bring huge opportunities across the UK, including a commitment to double Channel 4 skills investment to £10M and more than double the number of jobs outside London to 600,” Donnellan said. “The package will also secure the future of our world-leading independent production sector. We will work closely with them to add new protections such as increasing the amount of content Channel 4 must commission from independent producers.

Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said: “The principle of public ownership is now set for the foreseeable future and will allow us to become an even greater force in the digital world.”

“Channel 4 is innovative, editorially brilliant and loved by an audience that doesn’t reach other people, most of them young and underrepresented,” she said. “In the analogue world, we did it brilliantly. Now in the digital age, we are doing it again. Working with the UK’s world-leading TV and film producers, we continue to deliver ideas that excite audiences excite and change attitudes globally.

next steps

Mahon said Channel 4 would “move faster, invest more, take more risks, break barriers and push boundaries”.

Some of the measures will need to be legislated, Donelan said, and will be done through an upcoming media bill to “relax the publisher-broadcaster restriction in Channel 4’s remit to produce and monetise its own content”. Have more capacity.”

“The changes will be introduced gradually, with appropriate checks and balances and after consultation with the sector,” said a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport press release.

Channel 4 is currently tasked with commissioning 25% of its shows from smaller “genuinely independent” production companies and this will be increased as the in-house rule is relaxed.

UK indie trade body Pact, which represents hundreds of UK production companies, said it was “disappointed”.

A spokesman said, “Our main opposition to privatization was proposals for in-house production.” “Any relaxation of Channel 4’s publisher-broadcaster status would be a blow to the sector, which is already facing increased production and business costs. It is important that there are appropriate safeguards.”

major win

The move represents a major victory for Channel 4, which has spent the past 18 months preparing for the worst over privatisation. This is the second time a sale has raised its head, with a similar scenario in 2016 that ended similarly. The network was launched under Margaret Thatcher’s government 40 years earlier as a BBC and ITV alternative.

When Sunak took over as prime minister in October, the prospect of the sale not happening grew. Sunak is preoccupied with a looming cost crisis, while Jeremy Hunt, his chancellor, has been outspoken against a sale and will be a major factor in the final decision. Sunak himself was more lukewarm and said he would “put forward plans” to privatize during his prime ministerial campaign in the summer.

Dorries tweeted yesterday that “three years of a progressive Tory government” were being “washed down the drain” and listed the Channel 4 reversal as a factor.