15 SEP 2021

UK Minister insists that Channel 4 would benefit from privatization

Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom, has reiterated his belief that Channel 4 would benefit from a change of ownership.

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Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom, has reiterated his belief that Channel 4 would benefit from a change of ownership, in the latest indication that the government intends to push ahead with privatization of the state-owned broadcaster, The Guardian reported.

“I believe that if Channel 4 wants to grow, then at some point soon it will need cash. It can either come on the back of the taxpayer, or it can come from private investment. And it’s my strong position – as a point of principle – that I do not believe the borrowing of a commercial TV channel should be underwritten by a granny in Stockport or Southend,”  Dowden said.

Oliver Dowden’s comments are strongly disputed by Channel 4 bosses, who say it is already financially sustainable and would not need to call on hypothetical taxpayers for extra funding. In fact, the channel authorities consider that, if the company were bought by a for-profit company, “it would cause harm to audiences”. They also said new owners would be likely to cut back on investment in regional offices and chase ratings over original programming.

The network recently announced its best-ever annual results after a recovery in advertising revenues and a reduction in spending left it in a strong financial position.