Jun 22, 2021

Channel 4 executives push back against privatisation plan after record results

Channel 4 executives have warned ministers against harming its public mission with an "Irreversible" privatisation, as the UK broadcaster reported its best ever financial results in 2020 after cutting spending on shows. Noting the "Great importance" of government reviews into public service broadcasting, Charles Gurassa, Channel 4 chair, argued that the broadcaster's "Outstanding" results during the most turbulent pandemic proved the "Flexibility of its business model" and "Continued sustainability". Cost-cutting helped the not-for-profit broadcaster to record a £74m pre-tax surplus, with its net cash reserves reaching £201m. The so-called publisher-broadcaster model has enabled Channel 4 to deliver its public service remit without having to turn to taxpayer support since it was founded in 1982. Mahon has sought to accelerate Channel 4's transition to becoming a "Digital first" broadcaster, with more emphasis on its ad-funded, video-on-demand service All 4. Under its statute, the Channel 4 board has responsibility for delivering the remit of the broadcaster, and directors would have a duty to speak out against any plans that may jeopardise it.

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