June 28, 2021
Under the Communications Act 2003, Channel 4 must prepare an annual statement setting out its plans for meeting its content duties in the coming year, and reporting on its performance over the past year. Channel 4 must consult with Ofcom before its publication and take the regulator’s guidance into account.
Ofcom’s annual review recognises that, due to the major disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was an unprecedented year. Although financial decisions inevitably had a major impact on its creative and scheduling plans for the year, Ofcom considers that, broadly speaking, Channel 4 delivered well against its remit and duties.
Ofcom says, however, that it expects to see a clearer strategy around Channel 4’s approach to investing in high-quality content for children and teenagers, given that 2020 saw a continued decline in spend and content volumes for these hard-to-reach audiences.
Ofcom says that this annual process is one component of its broader role in overseeing the performance of public service broadcasting in the UK. It will shortly be publishing its recommendations to Government on how to secure the future of public service media in the face of significant changes to technology and viewer behaviour. To access Ofcom’s response to Channel 4 in full, click here.