Tell the Government to keep Channel 4 public - take action now

Channel 4 is currently publicly-owned but commercially-funded. This means it can put public service before profit, at zero cost to the taxpayer.

But the government's plans to privatise it will end the broadcaster's special model of relying on independent production companies to make programmes, and reinvesting profits in new shows. If it becomes privately-owned, Channel 4 will not be required to do this, which will hurt the many small production companies it works with. What's more, it will have no legislative duty to nurture new talent or reflect diversity in the UK. This could affect employment opportunities for creative workers from underrepresented backgrounds.

From It's A Sin to Peep Show to Rocks, the broadcaster has helped make the UK's creative sector a force to be reckoned with. You can help keep it that way by calling on the Culture Secretary to keep Channel 4 public.

Take action 

Take action now to tell the Government to keep Channel 4 public:

Our response to the Government consultation

We recently submitted written evidence to the Government’s consultation on the proposed privatisation of Channel 4. Read our submission.

Taking our campaign to the TUC

Equity proposed a motion on Channel 4 at the Trades Union Congress in September. We called on all UK trade unions to oppose the privatisation of Channel 4 and back our campaign to protect public service broadcasting across the UK. The motion passed unanimously and are now officially backed by the TUC, the 48 member unions, and the 5.5 million working people they represent.

Why join the campaign to stop the privatisation of Channel 4?

Nurturing new and diverse talent

  • A privatised Channel 4 would focus on delivering profits, rather than diverse and distinctive content for audiences. It also currently delivers economic value for the UK creative industries, which are worth over £111bn to the economy.
  • Privatisation will remove Channel 4's legislative responsibilities and remit to nurture new talent, to reflect cultural diversity, to show alternative viewpoints and to invest in UK film.
  • The loss of Channel 4’s remit could affect the employment opportunities available to performers and other creative workers from underrepresented backgrounds. This remit currently means Channel 4’s commissioned programming is focussed on representing the UK’s cultural diversity and alternative voices.

Working with independent production companies

  • Since it was created in 1982 Channel 4 has directly invested £12bn in the UK’s independent production sector and every year works with 300 smaller production companies.
  • Channel 4 commissions more independent productions than BBC One, BBC Two, ITV or Channel 5. In recent years, Channel 4 has maintained or increased its quota obligations while privately owned ITV and Channel 5 have sought to reduce theirs.

Boosting the UK economy

  • Of the estimated £4.5bn invested in UK content in 2019, £2.8bn came from Public Service Broadcasters – more than half.
  • Film4 productions have won 37 Academy Awards and 84 BAFTAs. Channel 4/Film4 spends more on British film than any other UK broadcaster.
  • Channel 4 is in solid financial health and on track to achieve £1bn in revenue in 2021.

Growing audience

  • Channel 4’s digital streaming service All 4 saw a 26% increase in views in 2020 and now has 24 million registered viewers including 80% of 16-34 year olds in the UK. Channel 4’s 16-34 audience profile is 14% – around double the 16- 34 profile of BBC1 and BBC2 at 7%.

Levelling up

  • Outside London, the five main UK Public Service Broadcasters accounted for 61% of the £1bn revenues generated by Nations and Regions based independent production companies in 2019. By moving its National HQ to Leeds and opening Creative Hubs in Bristol and Glasgow, Channel 4 is building new creative clusters and supporting thousands of jobs in the creative industries.
  • By the end of 2021, Channel 4 will spend half of its original content budget in the UK’s Nations and Regions – two years ahead of schedule. It will be basing its Head of Drama in Leeds.

You might also be interested in