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Channel 4 job cuts due to ad downturn to be ‘worse than expected’ at close to 250

Channel 4 (C4) in the UK is reportedly preparing to announce its deepest ever job cuts, with as many as 250 staff set to be let go as it grapples with the impact of an advertising downturn.

Alex Mahon

The number exceeds the 200 roles C4 had reportedly been expected to axe as part of the round of job cuts it told staff to prepare for earlier this month and would represent about 15% of broadcaster’s full-time workforce.

The commercially-funded UK public service broadcaster, led by CEO Alex Mahon, is looking to cut costs and continue its shift away from traditional TV towards digital and streaming.

The previously reported job cuts had already been described as “very concerning” by UK media workers union Bectu and C4’s confirmation of the cuts, which The Guardian has reported could come today, will cause further alarm.

C4 scaled back commissioning significantly over the summer of 2023 in response to the challenging ad market and the macroeconomic downturn in 2022 into last year.

A C4 spokesperson said: “Like every organisation, we are having to deal with an extremely uncertain economy in the short term and the need to accelerate our transformation to become a wholly digital public service broadcaster in the long term.

“As a result, we need to continue to divest from our linear channels business and simplify our operations to become a leaner organisation.”

C4’s financial woes come as the UK government’s soon-to-be-enacted Media Bill allow it the freedom to make and own its own content for the first time to help it expand its revenues beyond purely advertising.

However, the plans have been met with concern from the independent production sector that supplies C4 with its original programming.

C4 has said it has been working with the Department for Culture, Media & Sport to ensure that any form of in-house production would enhance the value of its public-service role and mitigate negative impacts on the independent production sector.

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