Cutbacks coupled with more cash for programming
E4 and FilmFour. 4 Ventures lost close to $100 million last year. Thompson said that he supported the strategy behind 4 Ventures, to help “offset the impact of digital dilution on the core channel.” But he warned that the web had “to face economic realities” with its new businesses. He described E4, a general entertainment service, as “an incredible, almost unique achievement,” but made no mention of the movie channel FilmFour. The future of both services will also be discussed at today’s C4 board meeting. In general, Thompson chose to depict C4, a pubcaster funded by advertising, as an underdog in the cut-throat world of multi-channel competition. “If we don’t change the schedules, the way we work, the structure and scale of the organization very radically indeed, we are not going to succeed,” he said. He emphasized that his immediate programming priorities were “a powerful arsenal of entertainment programs, a bold new strategy for drama, and finding and developing factual entertainment and event programming.” He said he wanted to reawaken the “subversive, bold, risk-taking spirit” which characterized C4′s early years in the 1980s. “It’s a spirit you can only really foster when you’re small and fleet of foot,” he argued.
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