Channel 4’s David Abraham is to deliver the keynote MacTaggart Lecture at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The chief exec will be the first figure from a UK broadcaster to deliver the speech in four years, when the speech was given by former BBC director general Mark Thompson. Thompson was also the last C4 representative to give the MacTaggart - in 2002.

Abraham said he would use the platform to “set out a vision” in front of its key creative partners as to how the broadcaster will “maintain its cultural impact” in the face of globalisation and technology.

He said: “2014 is already shaping up to be a seismic year of change in the landscape of television so I am honoured to have the opportunity to give the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival this year.”

Executive festival chair, Elaine Bedell, added: “Not only have we not had anyone from C4 deliver the MacTaggart in twelve years, we also haven’t had a UK broadcaster give this prestigious keynote in four years.

We’ve become used in Edinburgh to hearing provocative calls from independent producers, or from on-screen talent, as well as from new entrants into the broadcast world like Netflix, all challenging UK broadcasters to up their game.

“Now it’s time for one, key, terrestrial broadcaster to respond - and to issue some challenges and provocations of its own. I know that David will deliver a MacTaggart speech that will truly ignite the debate at this year’s TV Festival.”

The annual event is in its 39th year and will take place from 21 – 23 August 2014.