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Government reconsidering Channel 4 privatisation

Government reconsidering Channel 4 privatisation
© Channel 4
Media minister John Whittingdale admits that the government are actively considering the future of Channel 4's ownership.

The British government is reconsidering the issue of privatising Channel 4, media minister John Whittingdale has revealed.

Since its inception in 1982, the UK's second commercial broadcaster has been publicly owned and since 1990 has used a self-funding model that sees all of its profit reinvested into programming.

Questions about whether the broadcaster should be sold off - a move that would raise a one-off sum of more than £1 billion - have been asked for decades and speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Whittingdale admitted that the idea is back on the agenda.

"There is a very important debate to be had about Channel 4 because, unlike the BBC, Channel 4 survives without any taxpayer funding as an advertising-funded model," he said.

"With the advent of the streamers and other competing services, that model is under increasing strain and I'm not sure it is sustainable into the future.

"So we do need to think about Channel 4 and whether or not there is a need for a second publically-owned public service broadcaster or what function it should fulfill. That's something we're giving a lot of thought to."

The current government are also responsible for an upcoming mid-term review of the BBC Charter ahead of its expiry at the end of 2027.

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