Though revenues at the state-owned broadcaster only dipped slightly to £925m, it made a loss of £27m in 2013, compared to a £28m surplus in the year before. The group had flagged that a deficit was on the cards as early as the beginning of last year, as it pledged to invest some of its £290m cash pile in new content and services. Channel 4 said that it had spent a record £608m on new material, as part of an effort to add more original programming to its channels rather than repeat shows.
This investment included the rights and programming related to the Paralympic Games, which the broadcaster’s chief executive David Abraham called “the biggest and most innovative national event in our 30-year history”.
Abraham said that Channel 4 – which operates as a not-for-profit public broadcaster – would continue to spend in 2013 and that it expects another loss, but will break even in 2014 providing the TV advertising market remains robust.
Advertising revenues, which account for most of Channel 4’s income, were flat at £844m, although the company’s film arm had a leaner year compared to 2011, which was boosted by DVD sales of The Inbetweeners Movie.
Despite the loss, Abraham and other executives hailed record audiences during the Paralympics, and saw their pay packets boosted. The chief executive took home £744,000, up from £700,000 in 2011.