Report leak increases C4/Five merger talk

Lord Carter's Digital Britain will dilute BBC

Lord Carter's Digital Britain vision looks increasingly likely to see Channel 4 being merged with Channel Five as part of a 'wider entity'.

The Communications Minister has rarely been out of headlines this week and the Financial Times carries what appears to be a draft of his well-publicised vision for Britain's digital future.

Two of the hot topics will be the proposal of broadband for all UK citizens and the future of public service broadcasting – with Carter critical of the current competitors to the BBC.

Merger

Channel 4's financial problems could well see it merged with Channel Five, with the report pointing out that multi-channel television has taken away its unique selling point and left it battling for a new role in UK television.

Andy Duncan – the chief executive of Channel 4 – has been lobbying for alternatives to a merger, including acquiring the BBC Worldwide arm or by public subsidy.

But it seems unlikely that the report will recommend handing a top slice percentage of the licence fee to Channel 4, but will instead continue to push the BBC as the cornerstone of British PSB.

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