Channel Four

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered at on 13 September 2021.

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Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant Conservative, Maidstone and The Weald

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, on what dates (a) he and (b) officials across Government have had discussions and meetings with (i) global media companies, (ii) UK broadcasters and (iii) financial institutions on the possibility of their purchasing Channel 4.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Minister of State

The government is consulting 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 continue to contribute socially, economically and culturally to life across the UK. But all linear TV broadcasters are facing significant challenges in today’s changing media landscape and 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 is therefore 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 Government has not decided whether to sell Channel 4, or how Channel 4 may be sold. Ministers and DCMS officials are meeting with a broad range of stakeholders to discuss our ongoing consultation. Their views and evidence will inform our policy-making and a final decision.

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