An arts minister has said that the change of ownership is “the right thing for Channel 4” so that it can compete against the “thriving independent sector”.
Ord Parkinson of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under secretary Whitley Bay was questioned on Tuesday during the DCMS committee session on the privatization of the broadcaster.
Defending the government’s decision to sell Channel 4, he said: “A change of ownership is the right thing to do for Channel 4, as it helps make the investments needed to compete against a thriving independent sector.
“Channel 4 was founded before I was born to help encourage commissioning from the independent sector, it has done brilliantly, so well that we have a truly thriving independent production sector.”
He cited the growth of streaming platforms as one of the major reasons for the privatization of the broadcaster, saying: “The cost of those independent productions is going up because there is such an appetite from Netflix, Amazon and others.
“And so we need to look at the next 40 years of Channel 4 and make sure it has the investment, access to the cash it needs to continue to be the next generation.”
When challenged by Labor MP Kevin Brennan – who suggested the minister was saying Channel 4 is “very successful, so you want to privatize it” – Lord Parkinson echoed earlier comments by Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries .
He added: “There is such a demand from small independent production companies that are privately owned, companies like Netflix and Amazon, and global streaming companies that the cost they can charge is increasing. We need to make sure that Our public service broadcasters have the means to be able to keep running great, independent British productions from across the UK.
“As Mr. Brennan says, Channel 4 is doing very well. So it is an attractive asset for any buyer.
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“But we’re looking not only now, but in the years to come, to make sure he still has the means to do that and be able to compete.”
Ms Doris had previously tweeted that she wanted the broadcaster to remain a “cherished place in British life”, but felt that government ownership was “preventing Channel 4 from competing against streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon”.
She said: “I will try to make sales proceeds to level the creative sector, invest money in independent production and creative skills in priority parts of the country – all to pay a creative dividend.”
Lord Parkinson also defended the department, saying “the DCMS is taken seriously in government” and “is increasing its production”.
Asked why many DCMS employees are working remotely, Lord Parkinson said he found it “much less rude” to ask staff members to travel to Whitehall than to attend meetings from home. say for.
He continued: “It’s a very convenient way to do things.”