A word war has erupted in the British media over the impending privatization of Channel 4 – Secretary of State for Culture Nadine Doris on one side and broadcaster chief executive Alex Mahn on the other.
After confirming the government’s plans to sell a state-owned broadcaster funded by advertising this week, Doris wrote a column in the Daily Mail emphasizing the channel’s “unique and important cultural role in British life”, saying she sees herself with the rest of her family. . He called the criticism of the government plan “lazy, excessive and anonymous speech from the leftist Luvvi Lynch Mob.”
He writes, however, that the huge amount of money spent by streamers on creating the main content and saying: “It is deliberately misleading to suggest that Channel 4 is not already competing with new platforms for audience share, talent, ideas and skilled workforce.”
He added: “In fact, Channel 4 has reduced the amount spent on new content by £ 158 million when it comes to investing in new programs, technologies and skills.
“The channel is private and state-owned, which in itself is a limited inconsistency.
“And because of Channel 4’s proprietary approach, it cannot create a back-up catalog for export, or an in-house studio to create and sell content. Instead, it relies almost entirely on advertising, which is increasingly shifting online. It would be irresponsible for any government to allow the status quo to continue. “
Doris called the plan to sell a huge opportunity to contribute to the “leveling” agenda promised by the government – to shift opportunities more fairly between the north and south of the country – and described it as the ultimate consequence of Margaret Thatcher’s vision, the UK Prime Minister who launched Channel 4 in 1982. Approved the plan. Doris writes: “In 1988, Margaret Thatcher was right. He sees that Channel 4 will only reach its full potential when it is free from state restrictions – and that is the vision and the results that we will deliver. “
Meanwhile, in the Sunday Times, Alex Mahn, who has been leading Channel 4 since October 2017, has been instrumental in financing independent content to make the company a new and varied voice champion on the channel – Channel 4 has no core content of its own. And the broadcaster’s very healthy balance sheet, which states that Channel 4 has not taken any taxpayer money in 40 years of operation. He wrote:
“Over the last two years, our revenue has reached record levels and we have no debt like the other broadcasters – and we have £ 270 million in cash in the bank. More importantly, we’re as creatively healthy as ever, with our shows garnering less than 44 BAFTA nominations last week. “
He also highlighted the favorable position of Channel 4 in attracting digital revenue, saying:
We have already led the way in transforming UK television from traditional to online advertising revenue, and we know that many British consumers want free content and are ready for the digital future. The plan we’ve proposed to the government as an alternative to privatization accelerates our existing digital strategy, as well as multiplying the secondary benefits of public property, such as job creation and skills creation outside of London – where private media companies don’t usually invest. “
Mahn added that more than 60,000 responses to the government’s privatization proposal came from broadcasters, producers and members of the public. The government has not yet released this material.