C4 – C5 merger could happen

Dawn Airey chairman and chief executive of Channel Five, has claimed that the government “has begun to recognise” the potential value of a merger between her organisation and Channel 4. She said that in Five’s view the financial benefits of a merger go well beyond just plugging Channel 4’s funding gap and will guarantee national news bulletins for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

She also poured more cold water on the idea of a tie-up between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm. Lord Carter, the communications minister, and media regulator Ofcom had both recommended this partnership as their preferred way of creating a new public service broadcaster, based around Channel 4.

Airey said out that the BBC has already warned Carter that the sort of joint venture it envisions will not fulfil the government’s vision of creating a new PSB of “real scale”.

“I don’t think this will really come as a great shock to anybody. For months I’ve been puzzling over how a combination of a body that exists to exploit IP and a publisher-broadcaster that doesn’t own any IP could make any material impact,” she added.

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