C4’s Digital Future: A Stake In BBC? Govt. Partnerships? Fill In The Blanks…

It’s probably just one option amongst many, but the government’s department for culture, media and sport is examining a proposal that would give troubled Channel 4 a stake in BBC Worldwide, as well as a cut of its profits, The Guardian claims.

C4 has warned for a couple of years it’s facing a £100 million shortfall thanks to its digital investments and falling ad sales, so is desperately looking for support. BBC rivals have, over the same period, sought a slice of Auntie’s license fee. But any suggestion BBC Worldwide should prop up C4 won’t go down well with the BBC – the terms of its latest charter renewal said it must offset a lower-than-hoped-for license fee increase by generating more commercial revenue, and the only way it can do that is through Worldwide so any impediment to share would set it back further.

Channel 4 bosses will set out their vision for the broadcaster’s “future role and purpose” in an event, “Next on 4”, on March 13, saying: “We believe that our vision for the future of Channel 4 is bold and ambitious and demonstrates a unique and distinctive role that Channel 4 can play in a digital world.” The Graun reckons C4 “is looking at working more closely with the commercial sector and local authorities to jointly finance public service internet and broadcasting ventures“. A roadmap is unlikely to emerge before Ofcom completes its second review of public service broadcasting next year.