Jon Snow: C4 and Worldwide merger likely

THE CHANNEL 4 news presenter, Jon Snow has said that a deal between Channel 4 and BBC Worldwide appears to be “increasingly likely”, but denied speculation that his employer was facing financial turmoil.

He made the comments earlier this morning as the guest speaker at a media lecture organised by Coventry University, adding that the idea of a merger between the two broadcasters to create the proposed ‘4 Worldwide’ would be “very exciting”.

Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, published a report last month stating how major changes were needed in public service broadcasting, and that Channel 4 was best-placed to offer a strong alternative to the BBC.

One of the options it recommended would see Channel 4 form a new relationship with BBC Worldwide.  This would help generate an estimated £100million annually which Ofcom believes the former needs in order to avoid bankruptcy.  But Snow argued that “Channel 4 is in beautiful shape because it has £200 million in the bank”.

He said that the article published in today’s Financial Times concerning Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation unveiling a $6.4billion quarterly loss was an amazing story, and a sign of the difficult times presently being faced by the world’s media.

With regards public service broadcasting, Snow said: “There is no question that having a public service broadcasting system in this country means that the quality of all broadcasting is lifted.

“The competition is higher with fairly decent news output.  In America, for example, broadcasting is in the most atrocious, comical condition – really pathetic and demeaning with superficial news.”

Snow told his audience that he considered the BBC to have forgotten how diverse and multi-cultural the UK’s society has become with the content it produces, and said a merger could address this current omission in British TV broadcasting.

“If Channel 4 is made into this new entity, and does a deal with the BBC over BBC Worldwide – which seems to be the most likely thing – then the idea of Channel 4 having a role in making BBC Worldwide would be very exciting.

“It may have passed them by, but Britain is becoming an increasingly multi-cultural, internationally looking country that is actually interested in the world.  People choose what they feel comfortable with.  This is a relationship with the viewer, and they have to be completely comfortable with you,” added Snow.

When asked if this proposed idea should fail to materialise, Snow said that the BBC could itself easily rectify the content being produced for multi-cultural Britain, suggesting BBC Worldwide and News 24 be fused together to create “a very decent wall-to-wall international 24 hour station for people living in Britain”.

Read this article on the Press Gazette’s website

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