UK government delays Channel 4 privatisation decision following public backlash

Alex Mahon

The UK government has delayed any decision on privatising pubcaster Channel 4.

In July, the government laid out a formal consultation into the privatisation of Channel 4, arguing that “the evolving media landscape poses material challenges to Channel 4’s future success and sustainability under its current ownership model and remit.”

A decision was expected soon, but culture secretary Nadine Dorries has, according to The Times, delayed her response due to an outpouring of public support for the broadcaster. Over 60,000 Brits reportedly submitted their opinions to the government in support of its status as a publicly owned.

Dorries’s response is now expected in December or January 2022.

Bankers have estimated the worth of Channel 4 to be around £650 million, with Discovery, ITV and former C4 CEO Lord Michael Grade all said to be interested in an acquisition.

For the broadcaster’s part, current Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon has stated her opposition to a sale. Speaking at RTS Cambridge in September, Mahon said that there is “no data or evidence” that privatising the UK broadcaster would create a more diverse ecosystem.

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