Oliver Dowden: Channel 4 may be sold in three years amid success of streaming platforms

·1-min read
Channel 4 (PA Archive)
Channel 4 (PA Archive)

Channel 4 could be sold in less than three years to “provide a sustainable future for the broadcaster,” the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden has said.

During a meeting of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Mr Dowden questioned the need for public ownership in a changing market that has seen streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime soar and asked for a review into the future of the broadcaster to consider the “best future operating model”.

Privatisation within this parliament was “one of the options under consideration”, Mr Dowden said.

He added that privatisation could increase the organisation with its “ability to access capital markets”.

“It is important when we look across the broadcasting market we consider the appropriate ownership,” he said.

PA Wire
PA Wire

Channel 4 was launched in 1982 as a publicly-owned, commercially-funded public service broadcaster.

It does not receive public funding but is ultimately owned by the government.

During the hearing, Mr Dowden also revealed that there could be government assistance for organisers of live events who could not get commercial government insurance if and when all Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in June.

The culture secretary said that if the next stage in the government’s roadmap out of lockdown goes ahead on June 21, the government would contemplate stepping in to offer insurance similar to that extended to the film industry.

“If it is the case that events still can’t go ahead because of a lack of insurance and a failure of the commercial insurance market, we stand ready to look at if we can use government intervention in exactly the same way as we did with the film industry,” he said.

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