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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 important to get this right and to take the time to come to the right conclusion. After all, the main channel, Channel 4, where most public service broadcasting resides, has seen its audience fall from more than 10% to under 6% over the last decade. We must take such things into account.

There are some concerns about the remit. Key to driving the public service broadcasting aims of Channel 4 is the remit, which has evolved over time. There are concerns, for example, about Channel 4’s performance against the requirement to provide content for older children. Ofcom has repeatedly raised this concern and the Lords Select Committee on Communications recently concluded that Channel 4’s current programming in this area is unsatisfactory. We must go into the full details of how the remit is executed to make sure we have got that right.

Ofcom also found that spend on first-run UK-originated children’s programming has fallen by 45% since a decade ago. Older children’s programming is an important part of the remit as written.