Andy Burnham UK culture minister said he would not rule out top-slicing the licence fee to boost Channel 4’s future funding. The broadcaster estimates that it will face a £150m annual funding shortfall once it loses the subsidy of terrestrial TV spectrum, when the analogue TV signal is switched off by 2012.
However, he said he would only opt for that solution as a last resort, saying the BBC should partner with others in broadcasting: “It has developed assets and infrastructure over time that can put value into the rest of the broadcasting system. Lots of this stuff is being worked on at the moment. It’s not a new thought that the BBC can operate more as a backbone of the system and help other elements.”
Meanwhile, on the subject of digital radio, Burnham said he backed the recent decision by the Digital Radio Working Group – convened by Burnham to outline the future of digital radio – not to commit to a date for analogue switch off.