Channel 4 bosses will be grilled on the network’s finances, commissioning slowdown and streaming strategy in front of an influential parliamentary committee next week.
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has invited CEO Alex Mahon and Chair Ian Cheshire to examine the various issues facing the network on Wednesday 29 November.
While the scrutiny session is a regular one and not out of the ordinary, the committee pointed to Channel 4’s overall financial performance in 2022 being down on the prior year, which will be raised.
“Questions may scrutinise C4’s dependence on the advertising market – in 2022, 89% of C4’s income came from advertising – and its non-advertising revenue,” added the committee. “MPs could discuss C4’s cut in commissioning, its streaming strategy and dependence on younger audiences.”
With a string of high-profile incidents in British TV over the past year, the committee will also examine Channel 4’s safeguarding policies, it said, along with looking at the government’s recent move to allow the Gogglebox and Great British Bake Off network to make its own shows for the first time in its 40-year history.
Channel 4 has been hard hit by the ad recession and producers have been frustrated by the commissioning slowdown, cancelation of a number of shows and delay of others. Deadline’s analysis earlier this month found that producers are anxious that the network has been scrambling to delay the premiere of shows until 2024 for political reasons, which is having knock-on effects. Channel 4 has repeatedly insisted that it is a tough market and Chief Content Officer Ian Katz recently said the network has been “a bit more honest” than rivals about the extent of the broader commissioning slowdown, although Katz won’t appear in front of the committee next week.
To compound matters, Deadline revealed yesterday that Channel 4’s Finance Director Vince Russell is leaving after five years.