Responding to the announcements at the Queen’s Speech today, ISBA’s Director General, Phil Smith said:
“This Queen’s Speech heralds enormous change for the advertising sector, with alterations to the UK’s data regime and measures on digital competition both having far-reaching consequences. When seen alongside the continuation of the Online Safety Bill and the progress of the Online Advertising Programme, we are facing government action on multiple fronts which will shape our industry for years to come. We call on Ministers to listen carefully to businesses and trade bodies so that these reforms are fit for the future.
“Evolving to meet modern challenges is important, but it is also important to do so on the basis of evidence. Given that, we are disappointed to see that Ministers intend to press ahead with the sale of Channel 4.
“Opposition to privatisation from ISBA members has been unanimous. Channel 4’s unique remit provides UK advertisers, which fund the broadcaster through advertising revenue, with highly valued, younger and diverse audiences. Channel 4 also supports the UK’s world-leading creative sector, on which local advertising production depends. No new owner, with a purely commercial incentive, could be guaranteed to maintain all the facets of the current offering, which contributes so significantly to media plurality and diversity in the UK.
“Channel 4 have set out their own proposals to turbocharge their existing remit, securing the distinctive programming for which they have become known while driving up investment in people and communities outside London. Ministers should think again about pressing ahead with a sale that commands neither wide parliamentary, nor public, support.”