Channel 4 privatisation decision delayed following public backlash

Alex Mahon (credit: RTS/Richard Kendal)

The UK government has delayed any decision on privatising pubcaster Channel 4 (C4).

In July, the government laid out a formal consultation into the privatisation of C4, arguing that “the evolving media landscape poses material challenges to Channel 4’s future success and sustainability under its current ownership model and remit.”

A decision was expected soon, but culture secretary Nadine Dorries has, according to UK newspaper The Times, delayed her response after an outpouring of public support for the broadcaster.

Over 60,000 Brits reportedly submitted their opinions to the government in support of its status as a publicly owned, while trade bodies including Pact have warned that production firms will close should the privatisation go ahead.

Dorries’s response is now expected in December or January 2022.

Bankers have estimated the worth of Channel 4 to be around £650m, with Discovery, ITV and former C4 CEO Lord Michael Grade all reportedly interested in an acquisition.

For the broadcaster’s part, current Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon has stated her opposition to a sale. Speaking at RTS Cambridge in September, she said that there is “no data or evidence” that privatising the UK broadcaster would create a more diverse ecosystem.

Tags: Channel 4

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