Commercial arm could subsidize Channel 4
LONDON — Channel 4, the edgy U.K. web, should be subsidized by profits from BBC Worldwide, the pubcaster’s commercial arm, according to producers’ lobby group Pact.The proposal, rejected by the BBC earlier this week as a way of plugging the so-called “funding gap” that Channel 4 claims it faces, is contained as part of a submission to media regulator Ofcom which is reviewing how public service broadcasting should be paid for and provided in the U.K. The coin from BBC Worldwide should go to Channel 4 subject to a rigorous accounting procedure and be invested in programs, especially children’s fare and shows made outside London. Pact’s submission argues that U.K.-made programs are essential to public service broadcasting which must represent and question British society and culture. The fare needs to be supplied from a diverse range of broadcasters and shingles, and reflect a range of views from across the U.K. in its entirety. Pact also supports tax credits as a short-term measure to ease the crisis in children’s production sparked principally by ITV, Blighty’s biggest commercial terrestrial web, no longer making tyke fare for flagship channel, ITV1. The producers’ org suggested that soaps like “Coronation Street” should not benefit from what Pact regards as an indirect public subsidy by counting towards ITV’s fulfillment of public service broadcasting duties. Pact chair Charles Wace said: “It is easy to forget that television schedules were dominated by predominantly U.S. imports as recently as 25 years ago. “Imported shows cannot substitute U.K.-originated programming as a way of delivering public service broadcasting, and we must continue to have a vibrant and competitive content creation sector to provide that programming.”
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