Channel 4’s privatisation was reportedly “needed” to compete with streaming services

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to outline why the channel needs more money to invest in "technology and programming"

The privatisation of Channel 4 is “needed” in order for it to “compete with the streaming giants”, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is expected to say in a new speech.

Set to speak today (September 15) at the Royal Television Society Convention, Dowden is due to discuss Channel 4’s current “stable position” while outlining why further investment is key to its growth.

“Without [more money], Channel 4 won’t have the money to invest in technology and programming, and it won’t be able to compete with the streaming giants,” he will reportedly say, according to Sky News.


Brexit - Oliver Dowden
Oliver Dowden (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Dowden is expected to suggest that the additional money can come either “on the back of the taxpayer” or from private investment.

“It’s my strong position – as a point of principle – that I do not believe the borrowing of a commercial TV channel should be underwritten by a granny in Stockport or Southend,” his statement will continue.

Discussing the channel’s ongoing commitment to independent news and commissions from the independent production sector, Dowden will go on to add: “Channel 4 can continue to do what it does best: to fund original, risk-taking content – the kind you wouldn’t get anywhere else – and to showcase the very best of this country on free-to-view television.”

Earlier this year Ricky Gervais spoke out against the potential sale of Channel 4, calling it “a real shame”.


“For almost 40 years, Channel 4 has been a launch pad for new ideas and new talent,” he wrote on Twitter.

“It’s been able to do that because of its remit and not-for-profit structure and it would be a real shame if that was destroyed by selling off the channel.”