Yesterday Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale suggested to the House of Lords Communications Select Committee that state-owned Channel 4 might would be better in private hands arguing that a private firm could better fund the channel’s growth, despite the channel itself being opposed to the idea.
Although Channel 4 is state-owned, like the BBC, rather than receiving money from the license fee, the channel funds all of its programs through advertising revenue, all of which is reinvested in making new content, rather than in posting profit. Only once in 2007 has the channel received money from the license fee.
Talking to the committee, Whittingdale made reference to when Channel 4 received £14 million from the government, arguing that the channel could not always rely on the advertising industry. He said: “It is the case that Channel 4 is very heavily dependent on the state of the advertising market, which is always a little uncertain, to say the least.”
A report in the Guardian on the subject states that “Channel 4 is firmly opposed to privatisation, arguing it would make public service content such as the news harder to justify.”
Although Whittingdale himself could not be drawn for comment, his department were keen to emphasise that no decision had yet been made, when contacted for a quote. Their statement reads: “”The Government has made no decisions regarding reform of Channel 4. Ministers have been clear that Channel 4 has an important remit and we are looking at a range of options as to how to continue to deliver this, including options put forward by Channel 4.”
The image used in this article comes from The 100 3, ep. 11 Nevermore, one of Channel 4 group’s popular American imports. The story follows young adventurers and exiles returning to a post nuclear earth.