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Channel 4 privatisation plan officially scrapped

Following yesterday’s leaked news, DCMS Secretary of State Michelle Donelan has confirmed that the UK government is scrapping its controversial plan to privatise broadcaster Channel 4. Instead of a sale, the government says it has “agreed reforms to help Channel 4 grow and better compete in the age of streaming giants”.

Michelle Donelan

In an official announcement, Donelan said plans include “allowing C4 the flexibility to make some of its own content and a new legal duty to promote long-term sustainability whilst introducing protections to ensure they continue to be an incubator for the independent production sector”. In addition, Channel 4 will now commit to doubling its planned number of new roles outside London and doubling its investment in skills

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.”

C4’s new-found ability to make shows will unnerve indie producers. However the government says it continues to consider (the independent sector) an essential element of our thriving broadcasting ecology and the wider economy. “In determining how this relaxation should be designed and implemented, the government will work closely with the independent production sector to consider necessary steps to ensure that Channel 4’s important role in driving investment into the sector is safeguarded.”

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