In the UK, the BBC’s campaign for privatization has failed, not for Channel 4.

“Privatize the BBC and make them self-financing”. Regularly initiated by British taxpayers, who consider it unreasonable to pay royalties (currently £159 per year, or 189 euros), favor the privatization of the British Broadcasting Corporation (22,000 employees, including 19,000 in the public sector). in petitions. More than a century, hardly succeed. The last one, which closed in January 2021, collected only 11,114 signatures. However, this is a marginal increase compared to the 2,275 initials recorded during the previous campaign in November 2019. The conservative power responds to those concerned that, following the charter signed in 2017, the government has made a commitment to uphold it. The current way of funding the BBC until 2027, arguing that the latter “plays a central role in providing reliable information and diverse content to all British audiences” with the mantra “Inform, Educate, Entertain”.

Often accused of bias to the right as to the left, “The Beeb” as Her Gracious Majesty’s subjects say, has a budget of approximately £5 billion (5.95 billion euros), 75% by royalties. and is funded by royalties at 25%. Sales of programs and services abroad. The group – consisting mainly of two large television channels (BBC 1, BBC 2), several radio stations and online services – is theoretically independent of political power, supervised by a board of directors and the Office of Communications (Ofcom), Telecommunications. is controlled by. Regulatory Authority in the United Kingdom. Yet since February it has been chaired by a former investment banker, Richard Sharp, who was an advisor to Boris Johnson when he was mayor of London and most recently to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. In addition, he is a generous donor to the Conservative Party.

Publicly owned but financed entirely by advertising which gives it a revenue of slightly less than £1 billion per year (€1.2 billion), the channel is routinely doomed to marketing.

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public consultation. In the absence of the BBC, the British government still has a privatization project in the area. It relates to Channel 4 created in 1982 by Margaret Thatcher with the aim of calling private production firms to headline BBC1 and BBC2. Public property, but financed entirely by advertising that gives it revenue (1.2 billion euros) of slightly less than £1 billion a year, the series – which created a pre-tax surplus of £77 million (91.5 million euros) in 2020 and 800 Employs people – is regularly destined for marketing. This was last thought of by David Cameron in 2016, but the Conservative prime minister finally gave up on giving up this “precious asset”.

Eager to replenish the treasure trove, Boris Johnson and his family don’t have the same kind of investigation. They state that privatization will give Channel 4 more resources to invest, grow strategically, and secure its future in a competitive marketplace. Critics of the operation respond that it will end the chain’s operating model that reinvests all of its profits into new programs with independent producers. Worse, according to him, the new owner will not have the same obligations to develop new talent and represent the country’s diversity.

The public consultation on the subject, which began in July, ended on 14 September. It is up to the government to learn the lesson. Channel 4 could be sold for 300 to 500 million pounds or even 1 billion according to the most optimistic. Buyers can be British telecom operator BT or American Discovery or ViacomCBS, which already own Channel 5 in the United Kingdom. So far only 150,750 signatures have been submitted in the petition against the privatization of the channel.

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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