Channel 4 is to plough pounds 200 million into its digital TV and
online services, with a substantial part of that being invested in
The broadcaster has earmarked this investment despite a decline in its
operating profit of more than 25 per cent to pounds 33.8 million. This
decline was due to Channel 4 increasing its expenditure on digital TV
and interactive services last year.
Michael Jackson, Channel 4's chief executive, said: 'If we weren't
investing money in new services, I think people would be asking
Referring to the formation of 4 Ventures, which will house FilmFour, E4,
Channel 4's online ventures, and its other commercial ventures, Jackson
said: '4 Ventures will allow us to manage these new businesses more
aggressively to ensure they open up new sources of revenue and offer a
return on Channel 4's investment, helping to insulate the core service
against more competitive times ahead.'
E4 is forecast to break even in four years' time and FilmFour, which has
about 450,000 paying customers, will need to increase this to about
800,000 to go into operating profit.
Channel 4 has set aside pounds 23 million for its internet ventures this
year and another pounds 23 million to be spent on its horseracing media
rights joint venture, Go Racing. The latter is scheduled to launch on
digital TV next year.
Channel 4's group turnover was up 12 per cent to pounds 716 million,
which the broadcaster attributed to strong ratings and revenue
performance. Programmes such as Big Brother, Da Ali G Show, So Graham
Norton and Trigger Happy TV helped the channel to boost its share of
ABC1 audiences, particularly in the 16-to 34-year-old age group.