Channel 4 chief executive warns privatisation would be "a solution in search of a problem"

William Turvill
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Channel 4's chief executive can't "fathom" the argument for privatisation (Source: Getty)

Channel 4’s chief executive today made the case for the network to remain public, saying: “Privatisation is a solution in search of a problem."

Channel 4’s revenue was £938m in 2014, and David Abraham said he expects turnover to exceed £1bn in 2016. He also said Channel 4 has reserves of more than £200m, meaning it can continue to invest in the UK creative industries.

Read more: Is the government considering privatising Channel 4?

“With numbers like that I find the conversation about our funding model rather puzzling,” he said in a speech - published by Broadcast - at an Enders Analysis conference today.

"I want to argue that, despite the concerns the Government may have about our future, our model continues to work well because we keep innovating.

"More than that, I believe that the good work our staff does is directly related to the operating model that we have. C4 is good for UK business and privatisation is a solution in search of a problem."

In his speech, Abraham also said it “pains and perplexes” him that his predecessors, Michael Grade and Luke Johnson, have spoken out in favour of privatisation. He said he could not “fathom” the case for this.

Read more: Channel 4 sale "worth considering" says ex-chairman

"The model is working,” he added.

"If Channel 4 did not exist in its current form, a government that cares about innovation and the creative industries would be looking to invent it.

"So let’s set aside these fantasies about powerhouses; yes let’s keep renewing our model by all means - but flogging off 4 will be bad for viewers and bad for the creative industries of the UK."

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