Culture secretary

Ex-Culture Secretary Karen Bradley urges Nadine Dorries not to privatize Channel 4

The Tory MP, who served as Culture Secretary between 2016 and 2018, told Conservative website Home that the station would not have set up a national headquarters in Leeds under a privatized model.

She said: “The media industry has always had a London-centric bias, and Channel 4 has been no exception. That’s why, as well as deciding not to privatize, I’ve encouraged Channel 4 to establish a major presence outside London – and I’m delighted that its new Leeds headquarters will open in September 2021.

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“Leeds represents not just a symbolic move, but a real shift in direction for Channel 4, creating jobs and opportunities outside the capital and helping to ensure that a national broadcaster has a national mission that benefits the across the UK, with new regional sales and design hubs in Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol also making a significant contribution.

Former Culture Secretary Karen Bradley

“Channel 4 has committed to ordering at least 50% of its content outside of M25 by 2023 – far more than the 35% it is required to order, and far more than any other public service broadcaster. This is leveling in action.

“I don’t believe the move to Leeds – which Channel 4 initially resisted – could or could have happened under a private ownership model.

“I don’t believe a private owner would freely choose to order from such a diverse range of independents as Channel 4 does.

“The incentives for a new owner to move production – including production out of London which meets Channel 4’s nations and regions quota – to in-house studios, in the interests of economies of scale and retention of rights , will be very strong, and I’m concerned about the ripple effect in terms of lost commissions for independents, especially small and regional ones.

She added that she hoped current Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries would eventually decide to follow what Margaret Thatcher decided when the channel was set up and make the broadcaster a public sector organisation.

Ms Bradley said: ‘Any conditions placed on a sale – such as keeping the head office in Leeds or imposing a higher regional quota on Channel 4 than anyone else – would reduce the attractiveness and price. for a potential buyer. A much simpler solution is to keep channel 4 where it is.

“As a curator, I don’t have an instinctive preference for public ownership.

“However, when it comes to thinking about broadcasting and our cutting-edge creative industries around the world as a whole, the issue of Channel 4 ownership must be the best way to support private enterprise and promote global Britain.

“It is also particularly important to consider what is best suited for start-ups in the TV and film production sector across the UK.

“It was Margaret Thatcher’s vision, and I hope it will be Nadine Dorries’ vision too.”

The government has been consulting on plans to privatize Channel 4, which could be sold to a private buyer, following concerns about its survival in the streaming age.

Nadine Dorries replaced Oliver Dowden as Culture Secretary during the September reshuffle, inheriting major projects such as the government consultation on the privatization of Channel 4.

She worked through 60,000 responses to a public consultation on whether the broadcaster, which is state-owned and receives its advertising funding, should be sold.

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