Report leak increases C4/Five merger talk

Lord Carter's Digital Britain will dilute BBC

4 and Five to merge

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.

Article continues below


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.