UK Entertainment Unions body scared of Channel 4 privatization plans – deadline

The UK entertainment unions have joined forces to express “satisfaction” with the British government’s plans to sell Channel 4 and have called on it to reconsider.

The Federation of Entertainment Unions, which represents more than 120,000 creative workers in the UK, has written to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Doris to say she is “deeply concerned” by the government’s decision to sell Channel 4, which is owned by the state, but makes its revenues for commercial purposes,

The sale was rejected by most media professionals in the UK, and many see it as an ideological rather than an economic move. The ruling Conservative Party says Channel 4 must be sold to secure its financial future and ability to compete with global streamers.

FEU President and Bectu leader Philippa Childs said: “Channel 4 costs absolutely nothing to UK taxpayers, but it gives us a thriving independent manufacturing sector, thousands of jobs and world-renowned, innovative content.

“The sale of this much-loved and fully self-sustaining public service broadcaster will deal a severe blow to the creative industries, which have been among those most affected by the pandemic and continue to face chronic skills shortages and serious consequences for broadcasting. in the UK landscape. ”

The letter cites an analysis by Ernst & Young, which predicts that the creative industries will be £ 2bn ($ 2.4bn) worse than the privatized Channel 4, that 2,400 jobs will be at risk and that around 60 manufacturing companies will also be at risk of closure.

The FEU joins the cacophony of voices from the UK media sector who oppose the sale, with many believing the sale would be a death knell for many small and medium-sized producers who rely on Channel 4 commissions.

The FEU includes the Equity Actors Union, the National Union of Journalists, the Union of Musicians and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain.

Read the full letter here.

We are writing in connection with the government’s proposal to privatize Channel 4. As unions representing the UK’s creative workforce, we strongly oppose this decision and urge you to reconsider the sale of a much-loved, highly successful cultural asset.

Channel 4 is a great success story that is constantly expanding the boundaries of entertaining and thought-provoking news content for British audiences. This success builds on the current model, which maintains a thriving independent manufacturing sector and allows commissioners a degree of risk and creativity from which viewers can benefit.

Not only quality content proves its value – numbers speak for themselves. The broadcaster’s unique power allows it to directly invest £ 12 billion in the UK manufacturing industry, creating 10,000 jobs in the supply chain, a third of which in nations and regions.

It is a completely self-sustaining television operator that invests 100 percent of its revenue back into the organization at no cost to the taxpayer. After 40 years in public ownership, we are concerned that the government now wants to prioritize shareholders’ interests over the public service.

It is difficult to understand the decision to insist on selling such a profitable network. The economic argument for privatization, including the claim that “the change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and the freedom to thrive and prosper” simply does not hold up – Channel 4 is clearly already thriving on its own. In 2021, it has a surplus of £ 101 million and is a strong force for economic growth, skills development, job creation and stimulating growth in the creative industries.

It invests heavily in the UK’s leading film and television industry and supports independent production across the country, generating resources to produce hit TV shows such as Derry Girls, It’s a Sin and Gogglebox, to name a few. The UK’s world-class reputation in television production and film production is central to achieving our ambitions for a global UK and a government equalization program. Channel 4’s unique authority allows it to take risks in independent productions, something that would not be guaranteed in a private model.

Any change in Channel 4’s powers is likely to affect the local British film industry and the sale or closure of Film4, with an annual budget of £ 25 million, would have a devastating effect on the UK film industry, given that Channel 4 spends more on a British film than any other television operator in the United Kingdom.

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