The United Kingdom’s publicly-owned commercial broadcaster Channel 4 reported records in its earnings and content investment during 2022.
In its annual report released this week, Channel 4 said it brought in £1.14 billion (around $1.49 billion) in revenue during the 12-month period that ended December 31, topping £1 billion in revenue for the second consecutive year.
One-third of that revenue came from sources beyond its traditional linear channels, which are financially supported by commercial advertisements. Streaming was seen as an increased vehicle for revenue; the brand’s core streaming service is also called Channel 4.
Sir Ian Cheshire, the chairman of Channel 4’s board, said the company faced increased pressure from political instability, a push toward privatization and macroeconomic effects that should have put the network on a turbulent path. Instead, Channel 4 powered through the various storms, although its problems are not entirely over.
“Channel 4’s exceptional team has steered the organization to the benefit of British viewers and the creative industries,” Kensington said in a statement. “Channel 4 is focused on being more digital as a broadcaster and more commercial as a business, transforming into a public service streamer. With a uniquely strong brand, Channel 4 is very well-positioned; however, we need government’s help to address prominence, so young audiences can continue to find safe and trusted British video that reflects their lives. There is no time to lose.”
Despite calls from some lawmakers to privatize Channel 4, government officials signaled in December that they were working with the media firm to look toward other sustainable business models. The government canceled plans to privatize Channel 4 earlier this year.
Instead of privatization, the government instead allowed Channel 4 to borrow more money for its content spending and licensing initiatives on condition that the broadcaster invest more in making more television shows and films in-house. Channel 4 has also agreed to hire hundreds more workers and spend more in regions outside of London, including Leeds and Bristol.
Last year, Channel 4 said it spent a record £713 million (around $933.8 million) in developing original content for the television network and associated streaming platform. Around £228 million (about $298.7 million) was spent on content production outside of London, the network said.
Channel 4 was founded in the early 1980s to provide increased competition to the BBC and ITV. Its charter requires Channel 4 to provide “alternative programming” to underserved British audiences, including youth and minorities.