Independent production company trade body, Pact, has called for “suitable safeguards” to be put in place to ensure government plans to allow Channel 4 to produce content in-house don’t “adversely impact” indies.

The DCMS backtracked on the idea of Channel 4 privatisation yesterday but also announced plans to legislate to allow Channel 4 to produce some of its content in house and move away from a pure publisher-broadcaster model..

A Pact statement said that it welcomed the Government’s decision not to move forward with the sale of Channel 4 but “we are disappointed that the Government will be relaxing Channel 4’s publisher-broadcaster status and permitting Channel 4 to produce its own programmes in-house. Our main opposition to privatisation was the proposals around in-house production. Any relaxation of Channel 4’s publisher-broadcaster status will be a blow to the sector, who are already facing increased production and business related costs.”

Pact said that while it is “encouraged that the Government is committed to working with the indie sector to ensure the changes to the publisher-broadcaster status do not adversely impact the sector, it’s vital that there are suitable safeguards in place and Pact will be working closely with the Secretary of State and DCMS officials on these safeguards.”

Commenting on the Government’s decision, Pact Chair, Jane Muirhead said: “Whilst it is clearly the right decision by the Government to reverse the privatisation of Channel 4, the decision to allow Channel 4 to produce its own in-house programming has the potential to achieve the same damaging outcome if there are not effective protections put in place. Pact will be meeting with Government and working closely with them to ensure that the right safeguards are established to protect the UK’s successful world-class indie sector.”


Jon Creamer

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