Channel 4 has said that will be a “continual investor” in British content in light of competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon and has defended airing risky formats that highlight public service issues.
Chief executive Alex Mahon, speaking in front of a Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sport committee, was grilled about its non-scripted strategy. However, Mahon defended airing innovative formats such as Gobstopper TV’s forthcoming plastic surgery series The Surjury, Generation Porn and 100 Vaginas to politicians by saying they highlight topical issues in an entertaining way.
The broadcaster is still in negotiations with BBC and ITV for forthcoming streaming service BritBox. “I can’t say too much about it because we are obviously in commercial negotiations, but we continue to be in discussions with ITV and with BBC about it and I’m very supportive of us as public service broadcasters working together”.
“I do think it’s important we work together as public service broadcasters, and I think it’s important that we put our toe in the water with SVODs,” she added. “I think it’s important we have that as British content together in a market. We have seen the immense investment of Netflix and others in market, and we do see that as an increasing proportion of consumers’ video time… I think it’s incredibly important the public service broadcasting ecology here stays strong because we are guaranteed to be continual investors in British creativity and British production companies.”
Former Shine chief Mahon added that up to 270 employees, many in key commissioning roles could depart the company as it increases its profile in Glasgow, Bristol and Leeds, although she added that a number of employees that she expected to depart are staying.
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