Channel 4 Revenues Hit Record $1.3B But Brexit Impact Is Creating “Uncertainty”

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has posted revenues of £995 million ($1.3 billion) for 2016, up 1.6% from £979 million ($1.26 billion) in 2015, the company announced on Wednesday. Digital revenues at the company made up 10% of the total, growing by 24% to £102 million ($131 million) year-on-year.

Despite this hike, outgoing chief executive David Abraham, whose role is being taken by Alex Mahon in September, said the UK TV market was in a tough spot due to Brexit and pointed to a decline in TV advertising following the EU referendum last summer.

The decline in advertising coupled with increased competition from digital rivals meant that Channel 4 was forced to eat into its £495 million ($638 million) cash reserves in 2016. The channel said it would do the same in 2017 if needed to make up any shortfalls to fund programming and had put aside £35 million ($45 million) in cash reserves for this year.

Abraham said that during the 2016 period, the TV advertising market declined by 4.2%. Despite this, the channel invested a record £695 million ($896 million) in programming, an increase of 10% year-on-year.

He added that the broadcaster would need to look carefully at its spending going forward in response to the current climate but that no jobs were currently at risk and that the channel was “very confident” it could adjust spending to match the uncertain commercial TV environment.

“The 2016 results demonstrate the scale and range of Channel 4’s creative and commercial innovation, with the second successive year of record revenue delivery underpinned by strong digital growth and our highest ever investment in UK-produced content which culminated in the exceptional delivery of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games,” said Abraham.

“In a few months, I will be stepping down as chief executive and I am very proud of everything that Channel 4 has achieved over the past seven years. I will hand over a business with a strong balance sheet and in good brand health – well positioned to successfully navigate the current economic uncertainty affecting the advertising market.”

In March, the UK government shelved plans to privatize Channel 4 but did launch a consultation on moving the corporation out of London, which is currently underway.

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