On 18 November 1996, Hansard noted a parliamentary question from John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon: “Will my Hon Friend congratulate Channel 4 on its success in avoiding recourse to the ‘safety net’ and on making a profit last year of £128m? Does that not demonstrate that it is possible for Channel 4 to meet its remit and to operate commercially? Will he therefore consider its privatisation at the first opportunity?”
On the eve of the publication of Ofcom’s much-anticipated review of public service broadcasting (PSB), big names from the BBC and Channel 4, past and present, discussed whether British broadcasting was in crisis.
Ofcom warned that PSB is unlikely to survive in the online world without an overhaul of broadcasting regulation. It said that the public service broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, STV, Channel 4, S4C and Channel 5 – could also fulfil their obligations online, and that the public service remit could be extended to the big streamers.