Channel 4 to be sold for at least £1bn before next election – Reuters

Channel 4 will be sold by the government in time for the next election, ministers told the broadcaster this evening.

The privatization is the largest since the Royal Mail whipped up in 2013, bringing in more than £1 billion and is set to be completed by 2024.

Channel 4 building in Londoncredit: Alamy

But it risks leaving a gem of British culture in the hands of streaming giant Netflix or Amazon.

A historic new media bill will be at the center of next month’s Queen’s speech, where the government’s legislative agenda for the year is set.

The new law would allow the sale of the C4 created in 1982 under Margaret Thatcher as a BBC and ITV disruptor.

But ministers would argue that a sales organization is in the best interest because it would give more freedom to privately maintain its content in an age of fundraising and streaming.

The move is expected to spark a massive backlash after clashes between Chanel and Tories ahead of the 2019 election.

Channel 4 boss Dorethy Byrne came under criticism that year when she called Boris Johnson a “known liar” and a “coward” and compared him to Putin during a rant at a concert. Television.

And former Channel 4 News lead presenter Jon Snow was filmed shouting ‘F—the Tories’ in Glastowe in 2017.

But ministers would argue that a sales organization is in the best interest because it would give more freedom to privately maintain its content in an age of fundraising and streaming.

A senior government source said last night: ‘Ministers have decided that while C4 as a business is currently performing well, government ownership is holding it back in the face of a competitive and rapidly changing media landscape. ,

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He continued: “The change in ownership will remove its straitjacket, giving C4 the freedom to innovate and evolve so that it can thrive and prosper long into the future and support all of Britain’s creative industries.”

It is understood that the proceeds from the sale will be used to fund upgrades, “investing money into independent production and broader creative skills in priority areas of the country”.

Sources say any buyer will have to pass a ‘fit and fit person’ test by regulator Ofcom, but the final decision on who to sell will rest with the prime minister and the culture secretary.

Insiders stressed that Channel 4 would demand a ‘continued commitment to prime time news’ and ‘we will ensure that it continues to make a significant social, economic and cultural contribution to the UK’.

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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