British entertainment unions have come together to express “concern” about the British government’s plans to sell broadcaster Channel 4 and urge it to reconsider.
The Federation of Entertainment Trade Unions, which represents more than 120,000 UK artists, has written a letter to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Nadine Dorris saying she is “deeply concerned” by the government’s decision to sell Channel 4, which is state-owned, but receives its income from commercial activities,
The sale was rejected by most media professionals in the UK, and many see it as an ideological move rather than an economic one. The ruling Conservative Party says Channel 4 must be sold to secure its financial future and ability to compete with global streamers.
FEU President and Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Channel 4 costs the UK taxpayer absolutely nothing, but gives us a thriving independent manufacturing sector, thousands of jobs and world-renowned innovative content.
“The sale of this beloved and fully self-sustaining public broadcaster will deal a major blow to the creative industries that have been hardest hit by the pandemic and continue to face chronic skills shortages, and will have major implications for broadcasting in the UK. landscape.”
The letter cites Ernst and Young’s analysis, which suggests that the creative industries will deteriorate by £2bn ($2.4bn) with Channel 4 privatized, that 2,400 jobs will be at risk and that around 60 manufacturing companies could also be closed.
FEU joins the cacophony of voices from the British media sector against the sale, with many believing that its sale will be the death knell for many small and medium-sized producers who rely on Channel 4 commissions.
The FEU is made up of the actors’ union Equity, the National Union of Journalists, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers Guild of Great Britain.
Read the full text of the letter here.
We are writing about the government’s proposal to privatize Channel 4. As unions representing the UK’s creative workforce, we strongly oppose this decision and urge you to reconsider selling this much loved and highly successful cultural asset.
Channel 4 is a great success story, consistently pushing the boundaries of entertainment and thought-provoking news content for the UK audience. This success builds on the current model, which supports a thriving independent manufacturing sector and allows for a degree of risk-taking and creativity for the commissioners, from which audiences reap the rewards.
It’s not just quality content that proves value – the numbers speak for themselves. The broadcaster’s unique expertise allows it to directly invest £12bn in the UK manufacturing industry, creating 10,000 supply chain jobs, a third of which are in countries and regions.
It is a fully self-sustaining broadcaster that invests 100 percent of its earnings back into the organization at no cost to the taxpayer. After 40 years of government ownership, we are dismayed that the government now wants to put the interests of shareholders ahead of the public service.
It is hard to understand the decision to push for the sale of such a lucrative network. The economic argument for privatization, including the assertion that “a change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to thrive and prosper” simply does not hold water – Channel 4 is clearly already thriving on its own. It posted a surplus of £101 million in 2021 and is a powerful driver of economic growth, skills development, job creation and growth in the creative industries.
It invests heavily in the UK’s leading global film and television industries and supports independent production across the country, generating production resources for hit TV shows such as Derry Girls, It’s a Sin and Gogglebox, to name but a few. The UK’s global reputation in TV and film production is fundamental to achieving our global UK ambitions and the Government’s leveling up agenda. Channel 4’s unique competencies allow it to take on the risks of independent production, which is not guaranteed by a private model.
Any change in Channel 4’s remit is likely to impact the local UK film industry and the sale or closure of Film4, with an annual budget of £25m, would have a devastating impact on the UK film industry given Channel 4’s spending more on the UK film industry. film than any other British broadcaster.