Channel 4 chief executive Mark Thompson has warned that the new broadcaster codes of practice, set to be introduced by Ofcom next year, could hit the number of commissions available for small and medium-sized indies, writes Jane Marlow.
Thompson, who gave the keynote interview at the Broadcast Commissioning Conference this week, said that if the introduction of the codes, which will give producers more control over secondary rights, resulted in a drop in distributor Channel 4 International's contribution to C4, the deficit would have to be met by the programme budget."If one indie wants more money from us then there will be less to spend on others. It's a zero sum game for Channel 4. There's no pot of money.There's only the programme budget," he said.Recent research commissioned by producers' alliance Pact concluded that C4's net losses as a result of the trading changes could be around£8m.Thompson added that the indies best positioned to benefit from greater control over rights would be the larger ones. "The danger is that some successful independents may get more money but that reduces the potential for other indie commissions," he said.Pact chief executive John McVay said he was concerned by Thompson's comments.He said C4 should look upon the new trading conditions as an opportunity to develop partnerships with producers and to innovate its business.