Welsh TV producers tell Ofcom that Channel 4 out-of-London quota levels are “not fit for purpose”

21 February 2024

TAC, the trade association for independent production companies in Wales, has called on Ofcom to raise the out-of-London quotas on spend and hours for Channel 4 to a higher level, “recognising and building into the licence the consistently greater levels out-of-London production which represent one of Channel 4’s flagship commitments”.

TAC’s response to Ofcom’s consultation on a proposed new licence for the main Channel 4 service uses Channel 4’s own figures to illustrates how, in the last five years, it has never fallen lower than 54% in terms of out of London hours and never lower than 45% in terms of spend.

Channel 4 has continued to commit to a voluntary level of 50% of spend and hours outside London and the Government recently noted this ongoing commitment. Ofcom has however not opted to raise the out-of-London quota from its current level of 35%.

Elsewhere, Ofcom is proposing to reduce Channel 4’s original commissions on the core channel from 56% to 45%. TAC’s response to Ofcom points out that this is a reduction of around 20%, which it argues is disproportionate to the need for Chanel 4 to divert resource to more digital content young audiences.

TAC also says there should be specific spend requirements for each nation, in line with the BBC’s requirements, and that the next Channel 4 licence should be for five years, in order that there can be more regular assessment of the current fast-changing media landscape and how Channel 4’s licence might need to respond.

TAC Chair Dyfrig Davies said:

“We are surprised that, having proposed to fundamentally alter Channel 4’s requirements elsewhere, Ofcom is not recognising how the broadcaster has changed in its commissioning structure and approach. With its hubs and voluntary targets, Channel 4 has hard-wired out-of-London commissioning into its structure and we believe Ofcom should future-proof this by raising the quota in line with the current reality. As it stands the 35% quota level is simply not fit for purpose.”

 

You can find our full response to Ofcom’s consultation on the Channel 4 licence here: https://bit.ly/3SFkjmz

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