Sep 15, 2021

Dowden defends Channel 4 sell-off in face of criticism by advertisers

The UK culture secretary will face down critics of government plans to privatise Channel 4, after leading advertising executives urged the prime minister to rethink his plans to overhaul the station's ownership model. Dowden's address to the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge will come after advertisers upped the ante in their campaign to stop Channel 4 from being privatised, arguing ahead of the minister's speech that the UK government had failed to make the case. In his speech, Dowden will argue that without extra cash Channel 4 "Won't be able to compete with the streaming giants", and funding could "Either come on the back of the taxpayer, or it can come from private investment". In his speech, Dowden will recognise that "Right now, Channel 4 is in a stable position", but add: "I think too many people are fixated on Channel 4's current situation. I'm much more concerned with its long-term future." Dowden will also seek to reassure TV industry dignitaries that Channel 4 would retain its public service obligations in the event of privatisation, including its commitment to news and current affairs and commissioning independent producers.

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