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Read this: What next for Channel 4?

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What next for Channel 4?…

BBC sounds music Radio podcasts hello, this is the media show from BBC Radio 4 hello welcome to the show welcome to the headquarters of Channel 4 in central London near here because as Channel 4 approaches its 40th birthday at Faces one of the most pivotal moments in its History Channel 4 is funded by Abbott but it's publicly-owned but as part of the Queen's Speech the government's now confirmed its plans to privatise Channel 4 despite the broadcasters opposition in fact Channel 4 published an alternative showing us what it wants to do if it isn't privatised something the Department of Culture media and sport says it's based on flawed assumption and however channel for future settle it certainly have major ramifications for the UK's TV industry whether it makes such a difference of the programs that channel 4 offers viewers well that depends on who you ask and in the middle.

All of these debates are two key figures Nadine dorries the culture secretary and I guess today and it's made the chief executive of Channel 4 welcome back to media show so the government taking its decision not the decision you wanted.

Where did it go wrong in making the case decision to make what I would say is it's never quiet times at 4 not a job.

You would take if you wanted an easy life and a restful retirement dcms Alton Nadine dorries supportive department of the industry, but obviously now.

I'm speaking to them a little more than usual should have been supported, but they did say your recent proposals for Channel 4 based on floor.

Clearly at some level you're not successfully managing to make your case.

I'm sure you've reflected on.

Why why why do you think that hasn't happened very clear on the public records, but the decision has now been taken by government not my job to challenge or local government that clearly there decision to make and when we had an alternative plan that weasel very clearly as the experts who run the business and the custodians of the remit people who know how to deliver it best.

We thought that plan was a very clear Ben remaining in public ownership.

It was about training about bringing people into the industry.

It was about spending more across Nations and regions anymore with independent producers.

That's not understand you you're a careful student noticed the Channel 4 bit of the industry and of the government.

You must have views on why the government is adopting this position so for example.

By the analyst ey said if the new private owner of Channel 4 reduces its spend on you commissions as a proportion of revenues in line with ITV we estimate the Channel 4 value to the economy violet supply could decrease by 15% That's 1 billion lbs.

That would seem persuasive.

Why do you think the government is not persuaded? Is it ideological? What do I do in the batteries in my ideal in fact data evidence speculation not to speculate on the government purposes you have to ask them that I think what is very is the white paper without laughing week before if a private owner only to follow the licence requirements as laid out currently in the white paper cause the loss of up to 320 million pounds a year to the Independent sector and up to 86 million pounds a year to the nations and regions in terms of spend because we spend.

At the moment 55% of our money in the nations and regions the white paper says that would drop 35% we spend all of our money on produces outside of Channel 4 the white paper says that 25% of the decisions about the gc-ms and the government have made only to say what might be the consequences of the decisions as they go through this process expenses at the moment, but I'm interested.

Do you accept that privatisation is happening for us.

We got a run a business during that you know we've got a co-operate with them quite rightly there are stakeholders, but we've got quite a job to do as management ensuring that animal is strong and healthy we did offer after results last week.

They are the best in our 40 year history, so I think it's fair to say that we are really thriving business.

I've got to make sure that for the next two years as all this time.

The eye focus on that and making sure that we are very very strong organisation and Spencer money on lobbying in the run-up this console all of the regional mayors Wetherby members of the public have all got points of View and you'll see that all come out over the next day or so and I completely understand.

Why is 39 not long for a 40th birthday? I think no matter what happens.

I'll probably make it for tea, and it's important Public Service Broadcasting landscape you and change it to the Public Service Broadcasting happen without that kind of the presume.

You would agree with the stories when she says this is 2021 or 20-22 01982.

She said the broadcasting landscape has changed beyond recognition that's indus.

So that is so tell me how you plan to change this broadcast you don't agree with the government's plans for putting you do agreed changes necessary someone who seen as defending the status Quo sort of ensuring that we remain kind of pickled in half back right.

This is about how do we have that we've been busy doing has the biggest share digital the broadcaster has the most of our business in streaming whether that the amount of viewing or money that we make in streaming in the commercial sector we've been very very busy adapting to that.

Are you sleeping way ahead of the competition there are several areas where people could argue Channel 4 could have gone further.

Let's start with one aspect of your plan.

Which is in your words to become a wooden base broadcaster with the majority of our workforce based outside of London 5000 jobs created.

You've been in the job for 5-years now.

You could have announced that ages ago.

What I'm Oz ago.

I think I'm saying was that we would switch a significant amount of stuff for the Nations and regions as of now.

We've got 400 rules outside of London that is way faster than the BBC when it was going to go to Salford move in the alternative plan we publish I said we get her a few more 112 when we get the majority.

That's not the plans now that we're doing I'm not sure that anyone could have moved as fast as we have done to get offices up and running in Leeds and Manchester and Glasgow in Bristol and to get them started up at the comparisons about Ltd the BBC move the whole of 5 Live It move BBC breakfast at move BBC Sport in most significant chance of the operation your store based in London council chief content officer in London mediaeval senior leaders are in London the majority of your staff in London and this is several years after you've been in charge.

I'm really suggesting that what you put in this proposal now.

Is something that looks like a reaction to the political situation you're in rather than something that culturally this organisation believes in and when the BBC and now it's best intentions to get places outside of London to win that actually happened.

We did to spending 55% of their money outside of London yes, we said we get to 300 staff in two years were head of that but I 100 we said 50% by 2023 were head of that 2 years had a plan we read of it.

We could do more that's a significant shift make last year 66% of our qualified now as well made outside of London we've got a business for studio entirely based in Leeds which has now the brand has got the biggest reach on social on YouTube and Facebook and that's going.

How do you leave an organisation when the government asking it's become one thing and you think that thing is not a good idea.

How do you avoid that will like what a special place people end up working here because the light in the Light change sometimes.

They like being your turn to so what I was doing when x tricky for never is never simple hear the soft unattended double down and think about what the channel for spirit and remitting purpose and values are so they help me through a lot, but we've got a complex sounds navigate and one aspect of the channel for spirit to use your phrases the very close relationship between Channel 4 in the Independent production sector and you've made march in the arguments around privatisation that privatisation will hurt that sector but when we look at the volume of money over 4 billion lb coming through the high-end TV production set to to the autumn 2021, UK

Actually such as the buoyancy of the TV industry in the UK that this is the biggest issue that will impact on Indies maybe even a decade or so, it's on very very familiar with it, so I don't care about it.

It's really important to me and I do see the Independent sector is the mental part of the creative industries in the UK and that's because of our ability to innovate because of the structure and public service market here.

I think I'm right in saying that a last year in the UK 850 different shows what conditions that were like the rest of Europe or other territory of that to export things and hold onto its own IP for decades has been rather intertwined for Channel 4 because we give Indies those Rise so I do believe that the impact of 300 million a year on that Factor

Attacked who represented as a very very much the same it's not like I'm against one that was about making profits.

I'm just saying that if you run an organisation and focus on profitability.

That's a different objectives, but I want to understand this little better.

So first of all the government says look if we private is Channel 4 we instantly getting the reason of £1000000 we can feed directly into the sector that you'll say it's going to be hard so do you accept that creative dividend to use the government's phrase exist? What's that would completely just have no idea how the government which structure that at this time.

I'm sure that all sorts and benefit of your regular long-term that would be a benefit.

We spent a year leaving out this year that will spend more than we've ever done so all of our spending the bathroom Georgia by spending goes into that sector so if it's 1 billion once.

Will 700 million year olds and take a mathematical genius to work out that takes about 1.3 years for this evening so I can go to the benefit of the sector, but it's just spend write the point is about the right structure that we have agreed with the Independent sector because we give the IP rights to those companies the profitability of those show sits on the Banshees of lots of small company and will you see that is a plus there are some people who say your approach to IP is one of Channel 4 main problems for example Lord Michael grade argues Channel 4 has to look at the IP issue, but you don't hold the IP to your biggest hits as a business fundamentally is streaming continues to dominate that undercuts your endeavours.

Why do you not agree with that if you were outside organisation you might want to have VIP to make money from it by selling it to others as we are currently run what you would want is rental.

That I pay for a long enough period to show it to review so you can make money for me.

That's what we try we have we have those for 3 years and we run them all on our linear service and we run them all on and we make money from advertising through the if you were you might want to hold onto the IP forever but we have not found it an impediment to our businesses do not under IP permanently you could look at the direction of travel with advertising now.

You're right to highlight the fact your digital advertising revenues gone up significantly but your TV advertising has has Fallen the overall do not need IP2 somehow help you address that gap address that coming problem if we think about where young consumers spending lots of time like YouTube there watching plenty of advertising.

I don't see advertising as a way of making money disappearing in fact there anything I see young people watching more.

Has a volume of time they spend a viewing video goes up this water we disclose like you won our revenues.

What up 20% year-on-year the digital revenues were up 29 is bringing us plenty money to advertise his going up.

I'm just wondering whether not just in terms of Channel 4 but more broadly across the industry use digital advertising can replace the inevitable pressures that will come to bear on linear compensate for linear Decline and if you think about this item government and that's the interesting question of how you run the business.

Can you kind of Clutch control between the two and grow digital fast compensate for last 3 years so far.

We found it very successful.

Are traditional competition and you will have seen over the last few weeks even Netflix thinking they might just move into advertising listening to you.

Got to clear goals channel 4S cultural impacts and running a successful business one final question on the issue of IP intellectual property when you have shows like the Circle or play which is a drama based in London starting on Channel 4 by incubating on Channel 4 and then ending up on Netflix does not harm both of your goals if your goal is cultural impact and making money does not losing a show that you help develop the time is to be a very big R&D factory for the UK creative Industries

We're at the baftas on Sunday night.

You know when you see someone that mo Gilligan winning in the war don't you see if you like help one of ours wedding Awards we say people live in our Channel 4 on other channels now, but most of that research if you like lose money most of starting with new people new directors new produces new writers new actors new presenters that you know and that's a great thing and then they saw off and then they get bigger and then they turn up somewhere else for the UK creative Industries that supposed to think if you were trying to me forever and hold on to them.

That's not necessarily at the moment.

That's how we run the business.

That you went to the baftas on Sunday night congratulations on the Awards that the Channel 41 The Dene door is the culture sector is said that government ownership is preventing you from competing against streaming Giants I've heard you make the case many times that certain programs wouldn't get made if Channel 4 was privatised on Sunday night.

We heard Stephen Lambert the man behind many 1 on Channel 4 programmes for the privatisation plan destructive and he said these kind of risks referencing Gogglebox is commission will not be taken under this plan Help Me Understand how people understand why you think I privatise Channel 4 can still not createmany high impact programs Stephen a whole load of other creative geniuses talk about the value of Public Service Broadcasting and there was a particular focus on Channel 4 and what we do.

Translate your business's profit right for private companies for Media Mogul so familiar with making a profit running not-for-profit where your objectives Isabelle impact on Britain social impact representation is a very different objectives are here as a manager you sold for active if you have Netflix through objective is to describe a lifetime value so we focus on how we do that which allow that a privilege to make a load of shows that are really going on in the past couple weeks davina's menopause sex the menopause part 2 something like something like that.

You would focus on the shows if your motivation was prophet.

I don't believe that you would make the Paralympics that a lot I don't believe you would make it because they're all

Money but in the end, I guess the UK has a range of public service broadcasters operating to a range of different remit some people might say well.

We have other public service broadcasters can some of the program and you're describing for example Paralympics coverage.

If not be picked up by a privatise Channel 4 then it more likely the not will be supported by one of the Paralympics because that was in the market and Channel 4 pick it up since we've invested multiple times more than others.

Did you know the the last Paralympics in the winter cover it but also because those things lose lots of money.

You would never think every time.

Can we make it bigger? How do we go further? How do we set the global Santa we know that because it was in the market before anyone today and it?

In every other territory and no one cover in the way.

We do not understand as whether there is a disconnect between the programming that channel 4 is offering the UK and the world and how channel sees itself so for example in cats your chief content officer said you've gone from being the Ontario to a troublesome uncle acknowledging the fact that you're an older organisation you put out a document in April title Here Comes trouble.

He says he wants to give a voice to the unheard say the unsayable and show The Unseen but then I'm looking through today's Channel 4 schedule and there's Frasier on the boss USA couples come dine with me countdown a place in the sun great house giveaway Sun Sea and selling houses that doesn't feel like it's a network which is saying the answer for the daytime schedule as well.

No but a load of things that have been on in the past couple of weeks at the divina show that I mention Derry girls hullraisers documentary.

We've got coming out something big on Elon Musk we've got Troy Deeney on how important is a black history is taught in schools in the UK are we've got Elaine Maxwell documentary come out as a whole piece suite heard about Kyle and kind of death on daytime.

There's a set of things.

We do continuously while Fraser is a magical programme in the morning.

I'm using pressures mine in the morning because I wonder if you're grappling with a broader issue, which is that when Channel 4 started things that it represented by running counter to the mainstream, but actually some of the things which Channel 4 now represents have become the mainstream and as such it's not so clear what channel 4 is playing up again in there.

We got my father youngest profile of us the evidence is where the most financially successful even the evidence is that would do incredibly well digitally and wear a head of our competition profile 34% of the audience ITV's at 21% understand what you're saying about.

Can you always be the naughty child or do you end up in the being the trouble someone called which has slightly but what we see is that we continue to make that is so you might never thought that Channel 4.

Don't want Arriva would be the the broadcaster representing all the women in their search for HRT this week.

We are and I think that's going to be really bad off but then everything which was on in September a day where all the programming was fronted by blackcurrant and had black cruise behind the scenes and we're all the adverts will be shot with that that will make when we're not sort of Legacy commitment from them.

That's making an impact on the industry, so I would argue there are still massive areas where we can make him and I continue to see that in the program and we do and imagine young people.

Let's look at the way.

They're consuming contact not just TV because of course 2030 years ago Channel 4 would have been competing with BBC1 or iTV to get them what are competing with the range of social media platforms and tech platforms some of the data.

I'm looking at some the percentage of adults viewing at least 50 minutes of Channel 4 on linear TV in an average weekers has declined.

Decline being a monk's 16 to 24 year olds and then presumably that's not a surprise.

I think that they are gen Z is now watching 7.2 hours of video today and Jen x which I get to the 16.3.

So just in one generation.

Look at the volume Annabelle 50% for the youngest about 50% of what you watching is long form.

What we might call traditional another house distributed for the generation before that is about 70% of the fast switches, but what you see is the video day if we like his elongating the demand for high-quality traditional content that is how we switch to distributing it in the way they want because the content is in demand, so that's why we switch so much for all four and why we're getting that streaming.

The content is are you making it available in the places where they want to see it? I'm very interested to hear your views on because all content creators all content creators a wrestling with when we put our contact on her own platforms vs.

When we put versions of our content out on third party platforms YouTube tiktok, wherever it may be how you view that on and off platform will only be on our and used to be called Ward garden.

I will only be on our owned and operated service you know we've been making a long time.

We've got lots up on YouTube we were the first make a deal with that we were the first to make a deal with tiktok those things are really benefited is my belief that you've got to go to fish with a fish money off.

Pre-roll advertising or from advertising and it feels we've got for studio that time I mentioned earlier that we set up in these which is a huge digital grow store in Yorkshire lotto 14 million views are generated through YouTube Facebook and Snapchat it's all about getting the reach to the young audience 16 on those platforms where they are because we've got to follow them and if I was sitting here in 5-years time talking about this with you.

What what would be my I'm interested to know what would be your my options to watch programming.

Do you imagine a scenario for example where the networks BBC1 BBC2 ITV and Channel 4 Channel 5 become largely irrelevant vs.

The streaming platforms to come with me the way to think about 10 years on because I think what you will look for there as a signifier of trust as a brand.

You look for do I feel it will give me the kind of things that I can trust to make a choice on and I will like to make choices based on and I think we will survive in networks fit into that be prominent on other devices.

That's a good thing in white paper television will die over time want it but g Will Survive because we need things that will help by post office and signifier where we're going to make good choices.

You know that feeling of or Lord earphone into Netflix and I can't find anything I want to watch you know that's something on the sofa and thinking or what I'm going to pick now.

I'm halfway through this halfway through that what happens in that world is Brands are a stronger stronger significant.

I bought this shoes.

No, just before you wrap up appreciate you would prefer privatisation doesn't happen.

You've outline the reasons why but if it does can you see a version of a privatise Channel 4 The that works by some of your business financially and in terms of program that can be a success in all versions of the future, so I got to get her 40th birthday.

That's a November you'll be invited and then I've got to make sure it's gone for the next 40 years and that I agree with the government on they said, thank you very much for joining you can hear this edition as well as all previous editions of the media show via BBC sounds.

That's it for this week.

Thanks for the next week.

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