DCMS Secretary of State Michelle Donelan had confirmed that Channel 4 will not be sold off.
It follows her business case review set up after prime minister Rishi Sunak took office in October. The broadcaster will now be free to produce its own programming in-house – even the flagship Channel 4 News is produced by an independent production company, ITN.
As part of the package, Channel 4 will now commit to doubling its planned number of new roles outside London and doubling its financial investment in skills.
“This announcement will bring huge opportunities across the UK with Channel 4’s commitment to double their skills investment to £10 million and double the number of jobs outside of London,” said Donelan. “The package will also safeguard the future of our world-leading independent production sector. We will work closely with them to add new protections such as increasing the amount of content C4C must commission from independent producers.
The government says the reforms will allow Channel 4 to compete with the US streaming giants – one of the reasons originally put forward for a sale – while remaining in public ownership.
Alex Mahon, Chief Executive of Channel 4, who along with the independent sector led the fight against its privatisation said: “The principle of public ownership for Channel 4 is now set for the foreseeable future, a decision which allows us to be even more of a power in the digital world.
“I am personally delighted that we will be able to do more, making positive change for the people that others don’t fight for. We will move faster, invest more, take more risks, break down barriers and push boundaries; getting up to do that every day is an utter privilege for those of us lucky enough to work at Channel 4.”
Under current legislation, Channel 4 is more limited than other public service broadcasters in its ability to make and own its own content. It operates as a publisher-broadcaster, meaning that all its shows are commissioned or acquired from third parties – such as independent producers or other broadcasters – who typically retain the rights to those programmes.