Channel 4 sell-off under fire after best ever financial performance

Channel 4 Sell-Off Under Fire After Best Ever Financial Performance
Channel 4's revenues topped £1 billion (€1.2 billion) for the first time in its history. Photo: PA Images
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By Abbie Llewelyn, PA political staff

Channel 4 privatisation plans have come under fire again after it published its report showing its strongest ever financial performance.

Revenues topped £1 billion (€1.2 billion) for the first time in its history and it enjoyed a record-breaking tax surplus of £101 million (€118.2 million).


The UK government is seeking to privatise Channel 4, arguing that it will struggle to survive in a media landscape increasingly dominated by big streaming giants such as Netflix and has an over-reliance on declining TV advertising to support its business.

Labour’s shadow spokesperson for culture, media and sport in the House of Lords questioned the UK government’s failed attempt to alter Channel 4’s report to “suit the privatisation agenda”.

Channel 4 new HQ
Photo: Victoria Jones/PA


Lord Bassam of Brighton said: “Rather than trying to sex up Channel 4’s annual report to suit the privatisation agenda, is now not the time for the government to do a bit of a Lynton Crosby and scrape the barnacles off the boat and finally admit that neither the public, nor for that matter the Parliamentary Conservative Party want Channel 4 flogged off?”

Australian political strategist Lynton Crosby famously advised David Cameron’s Conservative Party to “scrape the barnacles off the boat” to get the party ready for the next election.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Addington asked: “Where is the conservative principle of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, or have we dumped that?”

Arts minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay responded that the government had every right to “make representations” for amendments to Channel 4’s report.


He added that the government has the “long-term interests of Channel 4 at heart” in its plans to sell the broadcaster.

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