Select Committee on Communications
A privatised future for Channel 4?

1st Report of Session 2016-17 - published 11 July 2016 - HL Paper 17



Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Chapter 1: Background


Chapter 2: Government position and ownership models

Box 1: Ownership options for C4C

Chapter 3: Economic sustainability

Current business model

Figure 1: Percentage viewing share: all individuals

C4C 2015 financial results

Box 2: Channel 4 Corporation results for 2015 at a glance

Figure 2: Total TV NAR at constant prices, 2010–2025f

Figure 3: Indicative TV advertising forecast to 2025

Market and technological developments

Figure 4: Total Channel 4 NAR and digital video revenues, 2010–2025f (£m)

Chapter 4: Impact of privatisation on content

Current remit

Box 3: C4C statutory remit

Box 4: Current licence obligations for C4C

Is the current remit specific enough?

Current regulation of C4C

Would privatisation have an impact on the culture of C4C?

Protected areas of remit

News and Current Affairs

Figure 5: Share of viewing to ‘national and international news’ on television by UK adults (per cent)

Figure 6: News programmes by audience share 2015

Figure 7: Share of viewing to national and international news on television UK adults (16–24) (per cent)

Older children and young adults




Would a commercial operator be incentivised to maintain the quality?

Impact of commercial realities

Could a privatised or part privatised C4C deliver its current

Could C4C be a profitable investment with the current remit?

What changes to the remit would be necessary for profitability?

Could a protected remit withstand future commercial pressures?

Box 5: Sanctions available to Ofcom in event of a breach of
broadcast licence

Could Ofcom at present regulate a privatised remit for
Channel 4?

What changes would be needed to the current regulatory system in order to hold a privatised or part-privatised C4C to account?

Chapter 5: Impact of privatisation on creative landscape

Role as innovator

Independent Production

Terms of trade

Vertical integration


How much might C4C be worth?


Table 1: Ownership of media brands

Ownership restrictions

Box 6: Competition and Markets Authority guidance

Who are the likely buyers if Channel 4 were to be privatised?


Chapter 6: Alternative ownership options

Status quo with support from regulatory reform



Minority private investment

Appendix 1: List of Members and Declarations of Interest

Appendix 2: List of Witnesses

Appendix 3: Call for Evidence

Appendix 4: Communications Act 2003

Appendix 5: Digital Economy Act 2010

Appendix 6: C4C Licence Agreement: Annex: Part 1 Requirements for the provision and content of the Channel 4 service

Appendix 7: Communications Act 2003

Evidence is published online at and available for inspection at the Parliamentary Archives (020 7219 3074).

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence

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