The chief of Channel 4 has insisted the ailing broadcaster is “well ahead” of its competitors in the shift to digital as the sector battles with the rising power of streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
“The whole challenge is how you reinvent yourself as a broadcaster and become digital,” Alex Mahon told the Guardian. “That is what we have to do now, that is what everyone else is doing.”
“It is exactly the same as has happened to retail and has happened to print, and I don’t think it is easy. Compare us to others and I think we are well ahead,” she added.
By the end of this year, streaming will make up 30 per cent of Channel 4’s revenues, with the goal to exceed 50 per cent by 2030.
But it comes as Channel 4 is expecting losses both this year and next. It is trying to cut down its costs to save itself from a torrid ad market, which Mahon has previously said is in “shock territory”.
She suggested the company may have to use its emergency £75m debt facility this year and it could even increase to £150m, considering market conditions.
Last month, the creator of hit shows such as ‘Big Brother’ and ‘It’s a Sin’, announced a major digital overhaul, including plans to move out of its London headquarters and layoff hundreds of its employees.
One glimmer of hope for Channel 4 is the UK government’s media bill, which is making its way through Parliament. The bill, if passed, would give state-owned broadcasters more opportunities to monetise their own programs.
“Channel 4 hasn’t had many ways to diversify before, now we have that option,” Mahon added.
Mahon also denied rumours that she is set to leave Channel 4.