Policy chief urges government to support claim it would be better off in private hands

Jay Helen 15-06-18

Helen Jay

Channel 4’s head of policy and corporate affairs has urged the government to share firm evidence about the benefits of a change in ownership.

Speaking at the IPPR Oxford Media Convention yesterday (19 July), Helen Jay said C4 has seen “no evidence” from the government that an alternative model would be better for viewers or the production sector.

“Our question is, what evidence does the government have that moving C4 out public ownership would increase C4’s impact rather than undermine it?” she said.

She added that the DCMS’s 10,000-word consultation document contains lots of “assertions but not a lot of analysis”.

“I would have expected an impact assessment,” she said. “Some analysis about what a sale might actually mean, based on clear methodologies, is not in the document at the moment,” she said.

The 10-week consultation, which opened in early July and asked key questions to industry stakeholders for responses to be submitted by September.

The government said its analysis will appear as part of a post-consultation white paper but Jay argued that this would have been more helpful to have been included in the document to help shape stakeholders’ responses.

“Ultimately C4 belongs to the public and the independent production sector, people should be thinking about what to say in the debate and what they think should happen to C4,” she said.

She called on stakeholders to consider what evidence they have at their disposal to bring facts and data into the debate.

Jay said that C4 will be conducting its conversation with government about the process in a “reasonable” way and avoid entering into ideological discussions.

In its response she indicated that C4 will be asking the government what it wants to achieve, what it wants C4 to deliver and what is the best way to deliver that.


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