C4 commercial arm's future in doubt after director quits

LONDON – Channel 4's commercial director Rob Woodward is set to leave the broadcaster, casting doubt over the future of its commercial division 4 Ventures.

Woodward, who joined Channel 4 as the first managing director of 4 Ventures in 2001, is said to be leaving after clashes with the broadcaster's chief executive Andy Duncan, according to reports over the weekend.

Woodward currently has responsibility for all Channel 4 activities outside its core channel, such as the first 'UK Music Hall of Fame' ceremony last month. There is currently no obvious replacement.

It is believed that Channel 4 may be about to slim down 4 Ventures after Duncan's strategy to link the broadcaster with the government or the BBC and expand on its public service obligations to fill a £100m shortfall in its budget.

Merger talks between Channel 4 and Five were ruled out completely last month, ruling out the idea of a commercial tie-up.

4 Ventures covers the commercial operations of digital channels E4 and FilmFour, programme distribution arm C4i, a schools programming arm and internet and interactive operations.

Channel 4 was unavailable for comment.

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