Channel 4 could be privatised

The newly created communications minister Lord Carter of Barnes is considering privatisation to help Channel 4’s financial shortfall, reports The Times.

Carter has the task of deciding how to deal with the estimated £150 million a year hole in Channel 4’s finances as part of his Digital Britain review.

In its examination of the issue, media watchdog Ofcom has been considering raising cash from public sources, including top-slicing the BBC licence fee.

Carter, who was the founding chief executive of the media regulator Ofcom, said that although Ofcom’s view ‘was an important one”, it was not the only advice he would take into account regarding the broadcaster.

Carter also said that building broadband networks and the safeguarding of the future of public-service broadcasting must go hand in hand.

“If the first question you ask is how to preserve regional news on broadcast television, that feels a pretty narrow way of entering the discussion. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enter it in a broader way and ask what it means for those things.”

“I have spent nearly 10 years of my life working in and around this subject. I think broadband is commercially, socially, culturally, economically and politically transforming.

“You have to look at the issues the other way around. We are now at a point where we have to get that right, or we might end up preserving the past.”

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