Channel 4 chief exec, David Abraham said that “everything Channel 4 does well remains as important as 30 years ago” in a session at the Media Guardian Edinburgh TV festival.
In an interview with former C4 chief exec Michael Jackson, Abraham said that society is in a state of flux and that it is Channel 4’s job to “sit outside mainstream thought” and have an “appetite for risk.”
He said that post Big Brother, Channel 4 was now “a more diverse experience with less of our schedule tied up.” When asked whether Channel 4 was making as much noise as it used to he said he questioned “whether we need to be institutionally loud as the projects were backing have immense cultural impact.” He said that television still has a huge impact on young people’s lives. And that the broadcaster’s research shows the ”brand has incredible potency through all the various platforms.”
When asked about Channel 4’s beginnings and the less mainstream fare it used to broadcast he said “thoughtfulness and intelligence is as strong now as its ever been” and that there were still uncomfortable moments at the channel and showing drama Black Mirror was one. “The Prime minister fucking a pig is not a comfortable editorial decision.”
When asked how he found Channel 4 when he joined he said he had been “in awe of it” and that it had a “year or two when its self-confidence had been somewhat lost and its swagger needed to be revitalized.”
He also said that more indies becoming part of big international concerns meant Channel 4 could “transact with them on a level playing field. What matters to me is a recognition of the creative value that the commissioning process can bring in some instances.” But that “the system doesn’t need intervention in our view. We’re concentrating on new indies, looking forward to those companies doing bigger things with us.”