The government is set to abandon previous plans to sell off Channel 4 and will also look to allow the broadcaster to make more content in-house.

The news comes as a letter from Culture minister Michelle Donelan to PM Rishi Sunak was published by Lewis Goodall of The News Agents.

In the letter, Donelan says there are “better ways to ensure Channel 4’s future and that of the UK independent production sector” than privatisation.

Donelan says that despite the views of her predecessor and then PM Boris Johnson that Channel 4 privatisation was the way forward “after reviewing the business case, I have concluded that pursuing a sale at this point is not the right decision.”

Donelan points out in the letter that Channel 4’s role “in supporting growth in our independent production sector, a sector which is currently worth around £3bn to our economy, would be very disrupted by a sale at a time when growth and economic stability are our priorities.”

The letter also reveals Donelan’s plans to give Channel 4 more flexibility to create its own content. She said: “I intend to legislate to relax the publisher-broadcaster restriction, giving Channel 4 the flexibility to make some of its own content and diversify its revenue more effectively.”

However, any change would be done in consultation with the indie sector “to ensure that Channel 4’s important role in driving investment into the sector is safeguarded

Donelan also stated in the letter that she intends to look into allowing Channel 4 to increase its ability to borrow money and also to introduce a statutory duty on the Channel 4 board “to have a clear focus on the long-term sustainability of the business.”


Jon Creamer

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