UK Entertainment Unions Body ‘appalled’ by Channel 4 privatization plans – Deadline
Entertainment unions across the UK have united to express their “dismay” at the UK government’s plans to sell broadcaster Channel 4 and urged it to reconsider.
The Federation of Entertainment Unions, which represents more than 120,000 UK creative workers, has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries, saying it is “deeply concerned” about the government’s decision to sell Channel 4, which is state-owned but derives its revenue from commerce,
The sale has been rejected by most media professionals in the UK and many see it as an ideological decision rather than an economic one. The ruling Conservative Party says Channel 4 must be sold to secure its financial future and its ability to compete with global streamers.
Philippa Childs, Chair of FEU and Director of Bectu, said: “Channel 4 costs the UK taxpayer precisely nothing, but gives us a thriving independent production sector, thousands of jobs and innovative world-class content.
“The sale of this much-loved and fully autonomous public service broadcaster will deal a major blow to the creative industries, which have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and continue to face a chronic skills shortage, and will have major consequences. for UK Broadcasting. countryside.”
The letter cites Ernst and Young analysis which suggests that the creative industries will be £2bn ($2.4bn) worse off with a privatized Channel 4, that 2,400 jobs would be at risk and that around 60 production companies would also be threatened with closure.
FEU joins a cacophony of voices from across the UK media sector who oppose the sale, with many believing its sale will spell the end of many small and medium-sized producers who depend on Channel 4 commissions.
The FEU includes the Actors Union Equity, the National Union of Journalists, the Musicians Union and the Writers Guild of Great Britain.
Read the full letter here.
We are writing to you about the government’s proposal to privatize Channel 4. As unions representing the UK’s creative workforce, we strongly oppose this move and urge you to reconsider the sale of property highly appreciated and very successful cultural event.
Channel 4 is a major success story, constantly pushing the boundaries of engaging entertainment and news content for UK audiences. This success builds on the current model, which supports a thriving independent production sector and allows commissioners a degree of risk and creativity, from which viewers reap the benefits.
It’s not just quality content that proves its worth – the numbers speak for themselves. The broadcaster’s unique mission enables it to invest £12 billion directly into the UK production industry, creating 10,000 supply chain jobs, a third of which are in countries and regions.
It is a fully autonomous broadcaster, reinvesting 100% of its revenues back into the organization at no cost to the taxpayer. After 40 years of public ownership, we are appalled that the government now wants to put shareholder interests ahead of public service.
It is difficult to understand the decision to insist on selling such a profitable network. The economic case for privatization, including the claim that ‘a change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and the freedom to grow and prosper’, simply does not hold up – Channel 4 is clearly already in full swing. In 2021, it recorded a surplus of £101m and is a powerful driver of economic growth, building skills, creating jobs and driving growth in the creative industries.
It invests heavily in the UK’s leading film and TV sector and supports independent production across the country, generating the resources to produce hit TV shows such as Derry Girls, It’s a Sin and Gogglebox, for to name just a few. The UK’s world-class reputation in television production and filmmaking is fundamental to achieving our global ambitions in Britain and the government’s upgrading agenda. Channel 4’s unique mission allows it to take risks on independent productions, which would not be guaranteed in a private model.
Any changes to Channel 4’s remit would most likely have an impact on the native UK film industry and the sale or closure of Film4, with an annual budget of £25m, would have a devastating effect on the UK film industry, as Channel 4 spends more on Britain. film than any other UK broadcaster.