Jhe government will set out details of its plans to sell Channel 4 in a white paper tomorrow, despite strong opposition to the move.
The state-owned but privately funded broadcaster was set up by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s as an alternative to the BBC and ITV.
With no in-house production facilities, it’s the biggest driver of the UK independent production sector. Channel 4 bosses, MPs from all parties and a string of TV industry bigwigs have warned that a sale would damage its distinctive voice and hurt the wider industry.
Media Minister Julia Lopez said public service broadcasters like Channel 4 produce high-quality content, but the rise of streaming services has changed the television industry beyond recognition.
She told MPs: “Tomorrow we will publish a white paper which proposes major reforms to our decades-old broadcasting regulations, reforms which will put traditional broadcasters like the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 on a level playing field with Netflix, Amazon Prime and others… The sale of Channel 4 is only part of this major reform.”
She said the broadcaster had “few options to grow, invest and compete” under public ownership.