Community Channel now owned by the community
December 1, 2016
By Chris Forrester
The UK’s Community Channel has been bought through a crowd-funding scheme which attracted almost £400,000 (€336k) in donations. Its backers say it is the first supporter-owned TV channel in the world dedicated to benefitting the community.
A new CEO has been appointed and a board of directors appointed from UK broadcast giant Sky, publicly owned Channel 4, transmission company Arqiva and the Barrow Cadbury Trust. Alexander Kann is the new CEO and the newly structured channel is chaired by Caroline Diehl.
The channel raised £367,200 from 302 investors in just 47 days. Major support came from Sky, the UK’s Big Lottery Fund which targets cash to good causes and the Barrow Cadbury Trust. Sky pledged it would invest £150,000 to match other donations.
Community Channel, which is available on Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat, offers budding film makers and charities a platform to share their work and content. Launched in September 2000, the channel shows original and UK-premiere programming and brings together a diverse mix of talent to create an impact for little-known and well-established organisations and their causes on the airwaves.
The media sector is helping the Community Channel with the Pro Bono supply of airtime, content and marketing support worth about £3-£4 million a year. It is available 24-hours across all the major TV platforms in 26 million UK homes, is streamed and available on-demand. TV accounts for 95 per cent of its viewing and over 10 million unique viewers tuned in last year (BARB 3min+).
Lord (Michael) Grade, a former BBC Chairman and Chief Executive of Channel Four, said: “Britain would be a poorer place without Community Channel so I am delighted that its immediate future has been secured. It is unique in the world as a means of galvanizing support for so many communities and causes. I urge people to continue to get behind the community shares scheme and continue to back the Channel as it looks to secure its long-term future.”