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Channel 4

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 11:14 am on 19th July 2016.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Policy) 11:14 am, 19th July 2016

It is also day two for my Secretary of State. The issue needs to be considered realistically in the face of the facts. Channel 4 acknowledged the risks facing its business model in its 2015 submission to Ofcom’s PSB review when it said:

“Channel 4 believes the potential downside risks associated with…factors, such as a faster shift to on-demand viewing, the emergence of new disruptive entrants, faster fragmentation of audiences, production cost inflation outpacing funding, and structural changes to the licence fee of TV, outweigh the potential opportunities. Moreover, Channel 4 is arguably the PSB most likely to face the future first, given its focus on risk-taking and trying new things, and also its targeting of young audiences, who are the most avid users of new technologies and platforms.”

That must be true. Some 94% of its total revenue comes from TV advertising, and with so much of its revenue coming from advertising, an open question remains about how Channel 4 is affected by shocks to the economy, such as Brexit. It is our duty to make Channel 4 sustainable.