< Go back to news listing

Pact response to Channel 4 statement ruling out nations quotas

Banner: a photo of the top of the Channel 4 building in Leeds, a vast glass structure built atop a more traditional stone facade.

We are disappointed that Channel 4’s recent statement on its commitment to programme-making in the nations rules out the introduction of any individual nations quotas.

We refute Channel 4’s analysis regarding the sustainability of individual nations quotas. The BBC’s nations quotas were designed to reflect Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s share of the UK population. These have been instrumental in increasing spend in the nations and improving representation. While Channel 4 is smaller in scale than the BBC, the quotas - as they currently stand - are proportionate to hours and budget. Evidence submitted by Pact to Ofcom indicates the financial burden of increased nations quotas is less than Ofcom estimate.

Channel 4 plays an important role for indies based in the nations and regions. As part of Ofcom’s consultation on Channel 4’s licence renewal, Pact proposed that Channel 4’s voluntary commitment to spend 50% of its production budget outside of London should be written into its licence. We also proposed that nations quotas - in line with the BBC’s - should be introduced over the next licence period. This would help to grow the sector in the nations and regions and would also help to mitigate the impact of any Channel 4 in-house production arm.

The licence renewal process represents a once in a decade opportunity to help shape Channel 4’s commitments to the production sector in the nations and regions. With the Media Bill changing the way the Public Service Broadcasters deliver on their commitments, and Channel 4 potentially moving into production, it’s now more important than ever that Channel 4’s commitments to the nations and regions are enshrined in its licence.

We look forward to Ofcom’s decision on this matter and urge them to take this opportunity to make changes to the quotas based on the evidence Pact and others across the sector have published.