Skip to main content

Channel Four: Privatisation

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 45653, tabled on 9 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether he plans to (a) undertake and (b) publish an impact assessment on the implications of the privatisation of Channel 4.

Answered on

24 September 2021

The government has recently consulted on whether an alternative ownership model for Channel 4 (but one where it retains a public service remit) may be better for the broadcaster, and better for the country.

We want Channel 4 to continue to be a public service broadcaster, and we want it to and continue to contribute socially, economically and culturally to life across the UK. But there is a wealth of evidence - including Ofcom’s recent report - on the future challenges facing our traditional linear TV broadcasters. Channel 4 is uniquely constrained in its ability to meet these challenges while it remains under public ownership - particularly because its access to capital and ability to pursue strategic partnership opportunities is limited.

Moving Channel 4 into private ownership could allow it to access new capital, take advantage of international opportunities, and create strategic partnerships only available through the private sector.

Consulting on the broadcaster’s future has therefore been about ensuring that Channel 4 can continue to contribute to the UK’s success in public service broadcasting for years to come, and how we ensure its ownership model best supports this aim

The consultation opened on 6 July, running for 10 weeks, before closing on 14 September. We are currently analysing responses to our consultation, and evidence received through it, to inform our policy-making decisions. Once we have answered the questions set out in the consultation, we will know what specific impacts to assess and will therefore be in a position to carry out an impact assessment.