Channel 4 Axes 200 Staff, Boosts Programming Budget

21 October 2002

Around 200 staffers at British TV broadcaster Channel 4 are to lose their jobs under a radical restructuring plan unveiled by chief executive Mark Thompson.

The ceo is determined to save money, having already shut down the group’s movie-making arm FilmFour.

Under the reorganisation – designed to cut 2003 overheads by 33%, or £36 million ($55.8m; €57.3m) – the savings will be transferred to content, with C4 setting its highest ever programming budget of £430m for 2003.

“The key to winning is in commissioning the strongest and richest possible schedule,” Thompson declared. “Every penny we can transfer from our costs into the programme budget helps us to do that.”

C4 has been accused of losing its way amid countless US sitcoms and voyeur-friendly ‘documentaries’ about sex.

The redundancies – 122 from the flagship Channel 4 service and the rest from commercial arm 4 Ventures – follow nearly 100 layoffs announced over the last year. They are subject to a statutory 90-day staff consultation period.

Among those not losing their jobs, managing director David Scott becomes deputy ceo, director of programmes Tim Gardam is promoted to director of television, and Rob Woodward adds the post of commercial director at Channel 4 to his existing role as md of 4 Ventures.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff