Statements from Channel 4 Chair Sir Ian Cheshire and CEO Alex Mahon

In response to announcement made by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport on 8th November 2023


Channel 4

Statement from Sir Ian Cheshire, Chair of Channel 4

“The Channel 4 Board welcomes the Minister of State’s remarks outlining the ability for Channel 4 to produce and own the IP of some of its content, following engagement with TV producers of all sizes from across the UK.

Channel 4 has been working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that any form of in-house production would enhance the value of its public-service role and mitigate negative impacts on the independent production sector.

“I especially wish to stress any move Channel 4 may make into in-house TV production will be gradual, build on the existing diversity in the market and with the intention to avoid any market shock. By way of illustration, we would expect five years after launch, the total of external commissions will still substantially exceed in-house production spending.

“This would be further strengthened by an increase of Channel 4’s existing qualifying independent production quota from 25% to 35%, to bolster its enduring commitment to the sector, particularly with small- and medium-sized independent producers.

Channel 4 remains entirely committed to its presence, programme-making and impact across the Nations and Regions. This includes its commitment to regional producers, voluntary investing 50% of its commissioning budget outside of London and growing its 4Skills training which promotes social mobility and economic growth across the UK.

“Our Board of Directors will supervise all these developments as part of their new duty to ensure the corporation’s financial sustainability.

“The introduction and passage of the Media Bill remains a priority for all Public Service Media organisations. We will wait to see how those elements that affect Channel 4 and the independent production sector are expressed in law before we can be certain of the best way of proceeding on in-house production. In the meantime, we will continue to prepare for the exciting future ahead.”

Statement from Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4

“We have been working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure any in-house production at Channel 4 would harness the benefits of Channel 4’s vital public-service role and mitigate the risks to the UK’s world-beating independent film and TV production sector.

“In the complex and highly competitive future we foresee, in-house production may well offer good long-term support for Channel 4’s financial sustainability, but it would never alter Channel 4’s fundamental belief in the importance of independent producers in the UK. Throughout our history, they have had the opportunity to build their companies by launching shows with us and owning their own IP. That partnership has been, and I am sure will remain, the lifeblood of our creative sector. Indeed, in a world where fewer rights are owned by indies, it must remain so.

“That is why we are exploring this right offered by the government, but we will also raise our formal qualifying indie commitment to the sector by 40% should we take up this opportunity – the largest commitment of any UK broadcaster. So, if we do choose to build an in-house production unit, it will be only after careful consideration of the effects of our approach. Most of all, we are only too aware how hard times are across the sector with the impact of the advertising downturn and will always have that at the forefront of our minds in our commissioning strategy.

“In addition, Channel 4 remains entirely committed to representing the whole of UK and to growing our impact across the country, including reaching our commissioning and spending targets in the Nations and Regions, achieving 600 roles outside of London by the end of 2025 and doubling our 4Skills budget to £10 million in 2025.”

Source Channel 4

November 9, 2023 2:00am ET by Channel 4  


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