Benefits of Channel 4 privatisation "inherently uncertain", Ernst and Young report commissioned by broadcaster finds

 
William Turvill
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The government is considering privatising Channel 4 (Source: Getty)

The benefits of privatising Channel 4 are "inherently uncertain", according to a new report commissioned by the broadcaster.

Channel 4 has today published a report produced by Ernst and Young (EY) as the government reviews whether it should have a different ownership structure.

It emerged last summer that the government was considering privatising Channel 4. Chief executive David Abraham warned against such a move earlier this month, saying: “Privatisation is a solution in search of a problem."

Read more: Why Channel 4's chief exec finds privatisation talk puzzling

And EY's report has today questioned the benefits the move would have.

EY said that any consideration of privatisation "needs to be accompanied by a clear statement of the problems that government is trying to address, and the outcomes that government is seeking to achieve".

The report said: "In particular, there is a need to balance the potential (but inherently uncertain) benefits that privatisation may bring against the potential risks to remit delivery if Channel 4 moves from a not-for-profit to profitmaximising status."

Read more: Is the government considering privatising Channel 4?

EY said that a privatisation process would likely be complex and create uncertainty within Channel 4.

On the report, Abraham said: “This detailed report from Ernst & Young demonstrates that, thanks to a unique model and remit that encourages commercial and creative innovation, Channel 4 has successfully adapted to the changing marketplace over recent years and is sustainable as a standalone business for the future.”

Channel 4’s revenue was £938m in 2014, and Abraham has said he expects turnover to exceed £1bn in 2016.

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