The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has officially confirmed the plan to privatise Channel 4 has been scrapped.
The DCMS said it has thoroughly examined the business case for moving the broadcaster out of public ownership and has concluded that the privatisation of Channel 4 is not the best way to ensure its long term sustainability.
Secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Michelle Donelan said: “Channel 4 is a British success story and a linchpin of our booming creative industries. After reviewing the business case and engaging with the relevant sectors I have decided that Channel 4 should not be sold.
“This announcement will bring huge opportunities across the UK with Channel 4’s commitment to double their skills investment to £10 million and double the number of jobs outside of London. The package will also safeguard the future of our world leading independent production sector. We will work closely with them to add new protections such as increasing the amount of content C4C must commission from independent producers.”
Channel 4’s CEO Alex Mahon said she was “personally delighted” by the decision, which she will enable the broadcaster to “move faster, invest more, take more risks, break down barriers and push boundaries; getting up to do that every day is an utter privilege for those of us lucky enough to work at Channel 4.”
In its official statement, Channel 4 said it welcomed the government’s decision, which “provides a firm basis on which to establish the sustainable direction of Channel 4, safely in the hands of the British people”.
“The government has declared its intention to legislate to remove the publisher-broadcaster requirement that currently applies to Channel 4,” added the statement. “We welcome the government’s commitment to engage closely with the independent production sector about the potential impact of this proposal, and we await further detail. We will contribute constructively to these discussions.
“Channel 4 is grateful to all those who have contributed to the debate about how best not just to preserve, but also to magnify our contribution to the industry, to local communities and to wider culture in Britain and abroad,” added the broadcaster.