Sunday, June 4, 2023
HomeentertainmentBritain's Channel 4 privatization officially canceled

Britain's Channel 4 privatization officially canceled

It’s official: the controversial UK network privatization plan Channel 4 has been cancelled.

Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan made the announcement on Thursday, in her letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak A letter in which she advised not to proceed with the auction was leaked the day after.

The decision represents a dramatic shift from Sunak’s Conservative government to that of Boris Johnson, who last year was led by then culture secretary Nadine Dorries The privatization proposal was advanced.

“Channel 4 is a British success story and key to our thriving creative industries,” said Donelan, who has held the role since September. “After reviewing the business case and engaging with the relevant departments, I have decided that Channel 4 should not be sold.”

The broadcaster will remain in public ownership, says the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport , “but with greater commercial flexibility, increased investment in skills and jobs across the UK,” and “new production arrangements to support its long-term sustainability and growth.”

The news represents a major victory for Channel 4, which along with much of the UK’s creative industry has opposed the plans – for the past 18 months.

“We welcome the government’s decision to keep Channel 4 in public ownership. This decision lays a solid foundation for Channel 4’s sustainable direction, safely in the hands of the British people ,” chief executive Alex Mahon said in a statement, adding that the decision “enables us to do more to support creative jobs and skills to inspire and grow the UK’s world-leading creative industries , and continue to open up the industry for those who aspire to a career in television and film.”

Mahon said Channel 4 “thanks to all who contributed to debates that not only best preserved, but also to expand our contribution to the industry, local communities and wider culture in the UK and abroad.”

However, the move does bring a new dimension to the UK’s independent production sector. Tingling, part of Donelan’s proposed “sustainability plan” for Channel 4 gives the network the ability to produce shows – a first for the house.

British television industry association Pact said in a statement that while it welcomed the decision not to proceed with the sale, it was “disappointed” to relax Channel 4’s status as distributor broadcaster.

“Our main objection to privatization is the proposal regarding in-house production,” it said, adding that the move would deal a “hit” to an industry already facing increased production and related business cost. “We have made clear the impact in-house production will have on independent film across the UK and the wider creative economy. However, Pact is encouraged by the government’s commitment to working with the independent industry to ensure that publishers, broadcasters The change of status will not adversely affect the industry.”



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