Sep 2, 2021

TV production companies fear Channel 4 privatisation threatens ‘indy’ scene

Television production companies have hit out at government plans to privatise Channel 4, expressing fears that a new owner will be given leeway to sideline "Indy" UK programme-makers from a network that has been their lifeblood for four decades. Several producers said privatisation could spell disaster for the sector as ministers would need to overhaul the way Channel 4 operates to maximise sales proceeds. Created by Margaret Thatcher's government in 1982 to challenge Britain's broadcasting hegemony, Channel 4 has facilitated the development of a vibrant independent production sector, commissioning distinctive, innovatively British and occasionally contentious content from a plethora of programme-makers. Since its inception Channel 4 has invested £12bn in UK-produced material and last year it gave commissions to 274 production companies. John McVay, chief executive of Pact, a trade association for UK production and distribution companies, said the way Channel 4 handled IP was crucial to the health of the sector.

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