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Nadine Dorries Slams ‘Inflammatory’ Reaction to Channel 4 Sale

U.K. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has sharply criticized detractors of her plan to sell broadcaster Channel 4. The plan was decried by several leading media industry unions and filmmakers.

In a strongly worded column in The Mail on Sunday, Dorries wrote that the reaction to her plan was “as predictable as it was inflammatory.” “Let’s dump the lazy, overwrought and ill-informed rhetoric from the Leftie luvvie lynch mob and take a cool look at the facts,” Dorries wrote.

U.K. independent companies are flourishing and only 7% of the industry’s revenue comes from Channel 4, Dorries wrote. As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 does not produce its own programs but commissions them from more than 300 independent production companies across the U.K. every year. It is publicly owned and funded by advertising.

Dorries wrote that because of the way Channel 4 is owned, it cannot build a back catalogue to export, or have an in-house studio to create and sell content, adding that advertising is increasingly migrating online.

“Broadcasting is now a totally different and digital world. Streaming giants have exploded on to the scene, with juggernauts such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus upending the old order,” Dorries wrote. “Netflix spent £779 million [$1 billion] on U.K. original productions in 2020 – more than twice as much as Channel 4.”

“In fact, Channel 4 decreased the amount it spent on new content by £158 million at a time when it should be investing in new programs, technology and skills,” Dorries added.

Channel 4 will be sold to “a buyer who will fund emerging talent, independent and impartial news, and invest in every corner of the U.K.,” Dorries wrote.

“The overblown reaction from the same people who snobbishly decried my appointment the moment I walked through my department’s doors won’t stop me,” Dorries added.

“Channel 4 is a distinct cultural asset which has created some of the best programs we have ever been lucky enough to watch,” Dorries wrote. “But its salad days are in the past.”

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