The government minister John Whittingdale has warned that channel 4 could be set to be scrapped or sold off. The reason Mr Whittingdale, who is a junior DCMS minister, gave for this was that a second publicly-owned broadcaster is no longer needed in the age of streaming services and falling ad revenue. Whittingdale stated that the channel’s business model was under ‘increasing strain’ in the age of Netflix.
John Whittingdale said that channel 4’s publicly-owned status should be reviewed. Whilst speaking on a panel at Conservative Party conference, Mr Whittingdale said of channel 4: “I’m not sure it is sustainable into the future. So we do need to think about Channel 4 and whether or not there is still a need for a second publicly-owned broadcaster, or what function it should fulfil. That is something we are giving a lot of thought to”.
These comments come after the channel empty-chaired Boris Johnson at a climate change debate during last year’s general election campaign. Following this, a Conservative spokesman accused the channel of “a provocative partisan stunt” amid “wider pattern of bias”.
Speaking alongside Mr Whittingdale at the same event, the Conservative MP Ben Bradley also offered his thoughts on channel 4. He said: “I have been skewered by them more than once, where you are not able to get a word in before everybody has been slated”. In addition to this, Mr Bradley called for “consequences” for individual journalists who produced biased coverage.