British broadcaster Channel 4, state owned but commercially funded, has put in a request for government money.

The company has formally asked media regulator Ofcom for "some form of direct or indirect public funding" which will go toward plugging a £100 million ($189m, €142m) projected cash shortfall.

Channel 4 says the march of multichannel viewing will see its audience share drop from 10% to 8% by 2012, thus adversely affecting advertising revenues.

It says it can find around £85m through tie-ins with the state-funded BBC and international distribution, but this still leaves a £15m hole which, C4 insists, can only be filled by government resources.

Says ceo Andy Duncan: "We don't want to get into a downward spiral where revenues are falling and programme budgets are under pressure. We want to have real confidence that we can get on with our agenda, and not spend another five years lobbying for money."

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); addtional content by WARC staff