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C4 and BBC Worldwide Deal In Doubt

26 February 2009
LONDON: A tie-up between UK public service broadcaster Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide would make the latter organisation too "aggressively commercial", according to a draft parliamentary report acquired by national newspaper the Guardian.

The House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee said BBC Worldwide's commercial remit was not always "logical", and argued that as Channel 4 has "no programmes to distribute", it was "questionable what it would bring to the deal".

According to the select committee, any merger of the two organisations would also have knock-on "implications for either the level of the licence fee or the quality of the BBC's service".

Overall, the report says there is "little evidence" that BBC Worldwide successfully obtains "maximum value" from the BBC's operations, and thus the distribution market should be opened up to competition.

Lord Carter, the UK's communications minister, has also announced that a number of "private sector parties" have come up with "ideas that could work" in plugging Channel 4's estimated £100 million ($143m; €112m) annual funding gap, providing a possible alternative to a link-up with BBC Worldwide.

Data sourced from the Guardian; additional content by WARC staff

 
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