The ad downturn has forced publicly owned British broadcaster Channel 4 to rein in programming investment.

Although the company denied rumours that its total budget would fall by £10–£20 million in real terms from last year’s £423m, it warned that the increase in investment would fall below the 6%–8% seen in previous years.

“The programme budget has been agreed and this will be an increase,” stated C4. “The increase may be smaller than we would have liked but good financial management will allow us to continue to invest where it matters – on programmes and services.”

That Channel 4 – usually fairly resilient to economic fluctuations – has been affected by the current downturn will be of concern to media executives. However, C4’s predicted 4% fall in ad revenue for 2001 is less severe than the 6% at Channel 5 and the 15% at ITV.

News source: Financial Times