The government has confirmed it will not implement its controversial Channel 4 privatisation plan.
Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries proposed the plan after suggesting state ownership was “holding back Channel 4” (via BBC News).
However, her successor Michelle Donelan now insists that the broadcaster “should not be sold,” instead proposing a number of other reforms.
Initially, the government planned to sell the broadcasting company, which it had owned since its foundation in 1982, for 1.5 billion pounds. However, this proposal met with strong resistance from Channel 4 executives and other figures in the television industry.
Donelan declined the offer “after studying the economic rationale and interacting with relevant sectors.”
One of its alternative reforms will allow broadcasters to create and own the rights to some of their own programs, many of which are currently produced by independent production companies. The Culture Minister also suggested moving more jobs outside of London.
“This announcement will open up huge opportunities across the UK as Channel 4 aims to double its investment in skills to £10 million and double the number of jobs outside London,” Donelan said.
“The package will also protect the future of our world-leading independent manufacturing sector. We will work closely with them to add new protections, such as increasing the amount of content that C4C [Channel 4 Corporation] must order from independent producers.”
Responding to the news that the privatisation will not take place, Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon said: “The principle of state ownership for Channel 4 is now set for the foreseeable future, a solution that allows us to have even more power in the digital world.
“Channel 4 is innovative, brilliant in editorial terms and loved by an audience that is inaccessible to others, primarily young and underrepresented. In the analog world, we did it spectacularly. Now, in the digital age, we’re doing it again.”
The news came a day after a letter leaked to the press in which Donelan told Prime Minister Rishi Sunak that Channel 4 should not be privatized.