Channel 4 privatisation off, relocation possible

The UK government is expected to announce that it will not privatise UK broadcaster Channel 4, but that moving its base from London remains possible.

David AbrahamOutgoing CEO David Abraham emailed staff last night to tell them that UK culture secretary Karen Bradley is expected to announce plans to privatise Channel 4 have been shelved in a speech today.

The idea of moving Channel 4, in whole or in part, from its London base is, however, on the agenda. Abraham strongly opposes the move, which would likely see the public service broadcaster moved to Birmingham, fearing it would see it lose key talent.

In the memo to staff the Channel 4 boss also said that the government is expected to announce a consultation into ways that the broadcaster can contribute to production outside of London.

Abraham said earlier this month he was stepping down as chief executive of Channel 4 and plans to launch a new media business in 2018. He has been at the public service commercial broadcaster since 2010 and now looks to have averted the threat of privatisation during his tenure following a concerted lobbying effort.

He has also overseen a raft of digital moves at Channel 4 and the creation of the Commercial Growth Fund that invests in indies and digital services such as Walter Presents.