Insights House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee launches inquiry into the future of Channel 4 and its potential sell-off


The Committee explains that Channel 4, set up in 1982, is publicly owned but run independently on a commercial basis, with profits being invested in content. Unlike the BBC and ITV, it has no in-house production arm, and its programmes are made by independent companies. Ministers are consulting on the possible privatisation of Channel 4, which is the Government’s preferred option.

Building on its reports “A privatised future for Channel 4?”, published in July 2016, and “Public service broadcasting: as vital as ever”, published in November 2019, and following the launch of the Government’s consultation in July 2021, the Committee wishes to look again at the remit and ownership of Channel 4. It is inviting written contributions to the inquiry by 17 September 2021.

The Committee is seeking views on the following questions:

  • What, if any, developments over the last five years give cause to re-evaluate the ownership of Channel 4 Corporation?
  • If Channel 4 Corporation were privatised, what would be the benefits? What would be the risks and to what extent could they be mitigated?
  • If Channel 4 were to remain in public ownership, what would be the benefits? Insofar as they are valid, how could concerns about its longer-term viability be addressed?
  • Should the regulation and/or remit of Channel 4 be changed, irrespective of its ownership? What would be the risks and benefits of any such changes to the UK Public Service Broadcasting system?

To access the call for evidence, click here.