UK Channel 4 privatization officially scrapped – The Hollywood Reporter

It’s official: controversial plans to privatize the UK’s Channel 4 network have been dropped.

The news was announced by British Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan on Thursday, just a day after her letter to Rishi Sunak, in which she recommended against continuing, was leaked.

The decision represents a dramatic turn from Sunak’s Conservative government to Boris Johnson’s government, which pushed for privatization proposals last year under Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

“Channel 4 is a British success story and at the core of our booming creative industry,” said Donelan, who has held the position since September. “After reviewing the business case and engaging with relevant sectors, I have decided that Channel 4 should not be sold.”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the broadcaster would remain publicly owned “but with greater commercial flexibility, increased investment in skills and jobs across the UK”. UK” as well as “new production agreements to support long-term sustainability and growth.”

The news represents a huge victory for Channel 4, which has battled against the schemes – along with many of the UK’s creative industries – for the past 18 months.

“We welcome the Government’s decision that Channel 4 will remain publicly owned. This decision provides a solid basis for establishing Channel 4’s sustainable direction, safe in the hands of the British people,” Chief Executive Alex Mahon said in a statement, adding that the decision “Allows us to do more to support creative jobs and skills across the UK, to inspire and grow the UK’s world-leading creative industries, and continues to open up this field to those wishing to pursue a career in television and film.”

Mahon said Channel 4 is “grateful to everyone who has contributed to the debate about how best not only to preserve but also to enhance our contribution to the industry, to the local community and to our culture.” broader culture in the UK and abroad.”

However, the move comes with a sore story for the UK’s independent manufacturing sector, with part of a Channel 4 “sustainability package” launched for the first time by Donelan. network ability to produce in-house programs.

In a statement, UK television trade association Pact said that while it welcomed the decision not to continue the sale, it was “disappointed” by the easing of the Channel’s broadcaster-publisher status. 4.

“Our main objections to privatization are proposals that revolve around in-house production,” it said, adding that the move would be a “blow” to a sector already struggling. face increased production and business related costs. “We have clarified the impact of in-house manufacturing on indies companies across the UK and the broader creative economy. However, Pact is encouraged that the Government is committed to working with the independent sector to ensure that changes to publisher-broadcast status do not adversely affect the sector.”


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