Insights Government announces plans to review and consult on ownership model and remit of Channel 4 and on tighter regulation of video-on-demand (VOD) services


The Government says that with a fast-evolving media landscape, increasing competition and changing audience habits posing imminent challenges, moving Channel 4 into private ownership and changing its remit could, in the Government’s view, help secure its future as a successful and sustainable public service broadcaster.

The Government says that it will also consult on whether the regulation of VOD services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, need strengthening so they are subject to similar rules as traditional “linear” broadcasters, such as the BBC, ITV and Sky.

The consultation will consider whether new rules are needed to protect viewers of VOD services, such as changes to age ratings and addressing impartiality and accuracy rules for documentaries and news content, alongside measures to “level the playing field” so public service broadcasters can compete with international rivals.

The Government says that this will help “ensure the country has a diverse, free and pluralistic broadcasting landscape with high standards”.

The reviews will come ahead of a broadcasting White Paper due in the autumn. The White Paper would consider the future of the country’s broadcasting landscape with, the Government says, “the ultimate aim of making sure it serves listeners and viewers on all platforms and across the UK”. To read the Government’s announcement in full, click here.