Review to probe C4's remit in digital era

Channel 4 is to conduct a major strategic review, examining in detail how its public service broadcasting remit should best be developed in the era of digital-only broadcasting. Announcing the review, Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan said the review would include discussions with key stakeholders—including Ofcom, Government, viewers, producers and advertisers and other interest groups to ensure they have a say in Channel 4's future.

Duncan said the review would seek to answer three important questions:

The Channel 4 board has been developing its plans for the review over a number of months, but decided to go public after Ofcom last week said it would work with Channel 4 to "monitor the impact of financial pressure" that the broadcaster is expected to face after 2010.

Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson said the outcome of the review would be "a bold new vision for Channel 4's public service contribution in a digital world" and would determine the optimum strategy for delivering it. He added: "This vision will capture the full nature of our public service contribution in the digital age across all our activities.

"It will give our viewers and stakeholders clarity about the role that Channel 4 plays in delivering public value as we approach switchover. It will help to better demonstrate the many ways in which Channel 4 makes a vital contribution to viewers, society and the British economy."

Meanwhile, Channel 4 is said to be preparing a time-shifted version of its flagship channel. Channel 4+1, which is expected to launch on all digital platforms later in the summer, will be the first time-shifted version of a main terrestrial channel.

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