Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will produce a comprehensive assessment of the impact of Channel 4 privatisation on (1) businesses and jobs in the UK media production sector, (2) the balance in the creative economy between London and the rest of the UK, and (3) UK viewers’ access to original and distinctive UK content.
Channel 4 has played an important role in supporting independent production in the UK. The government has been clear that we want Channel 4 to remain a public service broadcaster (PSB), with obligations and benefits similar to those all PSBs have including those that are currently privately-owned if there is a change of ownership.
We are clear that Channel 4’s public service remit, and its strengths both in working with independent producers across the country and in showing original, distinctive content, are precisely the attributes we would expect to be attractive to a buyer, and that we would expect any buyer to be likely to nurture and develop through new investment.
Channel 4 is one of this country’s greatest broadcasting assets, but we must think long-term about the challenges ahead and make sure it has the capital it needs to continue to contribute to the UK’s success in public service broadcasting.
We have consulted on the best ownership model to support Channel 4 for years to come. Our public consultation closed on 14 September. We have received around 60,000 responses, and we are carefully considering the views and evidence we have received to inform the government’s final decision.
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.