Welsh TV producers concerned at impact of Channel 4 privatisation plans
The trade body representing TV producers in Wales says it is ‘disappointed’ at the UK Government’s plans to privatise Channel 4.
Culture secretary, Nadine Dorries confirmed proposals to sell off the broadcaster yesterday, claiming in a tweet that public ownership was “holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”.
“A change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive as a public service broadcaster long into the future,” she added.
The government hopes to raise around £1bn from the sell-off, making it one of the biggest privatisations in the last decade.
Dyfrig Davies, Chair of Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru (TAC), said: “This is very disappointing news, as there is no evidence to show the need for this drastic move and we believe firmly that a privatisation will take Channel 4 in a more commercial direction, threatening its unique position in our media ecology.
“Channel 4 has enabled the development of a thriving independent production sector and analysis shows that in 2019 Channel 4 contributed £20m to GVA in Wales and supported 200 jobs.
“Channel 4’s initial investment in Welsh production companies in North and South Wales has enabled them to grow and develop their businesses. This could be lost if it leaves public ownership and refocuses on redistributing profits to private owners and shareholders.
“Looking ahead, TAC will seek to ensure Channel 4’s publisher-broadcaster model, which sees it work with so many up-and-coming production companies across the UK, is preserved.
“We also need to ensure Channel 4 doesn’t return to a more London-centric commissioning structure. Continuing the ‘4 All the UK’ strategy would secure efforts to ensure greater UK-wide representation in TV and support levelling up.”
A formal consultation on whether to privatise Channel 4 was launched last year and attracted more than 60,000 submissions, with independent television production companies among those strongly opposing the government’s plans.
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