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MPs perturbed over Channel 4’s commercial slant

Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee has said Channel 4 is failing in its public service

The MPs' annual report into the channel noted that its core output was largely composed of programming that had nothing to do with its role as a public service broadcaster (PBS). The committee likened the Channel to a "small public service dog being wagged by a very large commercial tail," with America comedies dominating its schedules.

As part of its license conditions, Channel 4 is expected to show a certain amount of programmes for benefit of the people at large, rather than try to profit from money-spinning commercial shows. The committee said the broadcaster should be transparent about the costs and benefits of its non-PBS channels. It called Channel 4's expansion into digital channels "wasteful" saying it had reduced its public service focus.

Responding to the report, a Channel 4 spokesman said that the Channel does not receive any cash subsidy to support its public service delivery and has to earn revenues in competition with other media companies.

The committee also said that proposals to expand Channel 4's remit could significantly increase its market impact and asked the government for its tighter oversight after expansion.