C4 boss presses government on funding issue

LONDON - Andy Duncan, Channel 4's chief executive, is pressing the Government to clarify the broadcaster's future funding model.

Channel 4 has been lobbying the Government to provide it with extra funding. Last week, Ofcom agreed that the broadcaster faces a potential £100m budget deficit.

However, the media regulator did not provide any detail as to how this could be bridged, concluding only that "the funding solutions for Channel 4 are a matter for government".

Last week, Channel 4 announced it was cutting 150 jobs in response to an estimated £50m shortfall this year. Duncan told Media Week: "Clearly at this stage we hope they (the cutbacks) will be sufficient, but there are no guarantees. The longer uncertainty with our funding goes on, the more we will have to take measures to protect the businesses to make sure we break even."

Duncan was encouraged by culture secretary Andy Burnham's announcement last week that the Government will unveil its plans for Channel 4's future funding and other elements of future PSB provision next January.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, said: "We are not in a position to say which will be the preferred funding model or comment specifically on any individual broadcaster."

PSB PROPOSALS AT A GLANCE

Ofcom proposed three models for the future provision of PSB:

- Option 1 - the BBC, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five continue to have PSB obligations

- Option 2 - the BBC and Channel 4 receive public funding to assist their PSB provision

- Option 3 - funding to provide public service content to complement the BBC to be opened up to online or pay-TV providers

Source: Ofcom.

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