UK Media Watchdog Offers Finance Hope to Channel 4

18 June 2007

LONDON: The UK's publicly-owned but commercially-funded broadcaster, Channel 4, will need to reassess its funding in the future to fulfil its public service remit, according to media watchdog Ofcom.

A report commissioned by the regulator says the broadcaster may need extra government support after 2010 as it faces increasing pressure from multi-channel digital television and competition from the web.

However, Ofcom believes there is no need for "immediate intervention" and will study a full range of post-2010 options as part of its next statutory review of public service broadcasting, which begins in the fall.

The regulator's ceo, Ed Richards, says: "The next phase of our work will be to ask what Channel 4's purpose should be in the longer term, and what the best way is to achieve it."

The broadcaster's ceo, Andy Duncan, who has previously called for more public money for the channel, welcomed Ofcom's findings: "Today's statement ends the debate about whether or not Channel 4 is going to face future funding problems and we can now being focusing on how to address them."

Data sourced from Media Week (UK) and Ofcom; additional content by WARC staff