The Guardian view on privatising Channel 4: it makes no economic sense | Editorial

The Guardian view on privatising Channel 4: it makes no economic sense | Editorial
The arguments put forward for selling the broadcaster don’t add up. The impetus is ideological – and wrong-headed

To sensible Conservatives, Channel 4 should seem a bargain. Owned by the state, it costs the taxpayer precisely nothing. It generates income from advertising – both from linear TV and streaming – that it ploughs back into Britain’s lively independent production sector, without the need for it to make a profit for shareholders. It was Margaret Thatcher’s government that brought it to fruition, after the seeds of the channel were sown by Lord Annan’s 1977 report into the future of broadcasting. It was designed to stimulate independent production beyond the BBC and ITV, reflecting the full diversity of Britain’s talent – and so it did. Some would say it has lost much of the iconoclastic spirit that animated it in the 1980s, when it commissioned artists from Peter Greenaway to John Akromfrah
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