Duncan rules out Four deal with Channel Five

Channel 4 has rejected the idea of a merger with Five as it seeks to plug its funding gap, saying the move makes "no sense whatsoever" and compared it to "penguins crowding together for safety on a rapidly melting ice floe".

Andy Duncan, the chief executive of Channel 4, slammed proposals for further consolidation of television broadcasters, saying: "As a solution [it] does not even get to the starting line."

Mr Duncan was speaking following comments from Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC, who called for a merger of the two rival broadcasters earlier this week. Mr Thompson is not in favour of an alternative proposal, which would see Channel 4 get part of the BBC's commercial unit BBC Worldwide.

Channel 4 needs as much as £150m invested by 2012, and has been considering a range of options for its future funding. However it came out firmly against a merger yesterday, which would amount to a part privatisation of the broadcaster.

"It makes no sense whatsoever to imagine that merging a not-for-profit publicly owned broadcast business with a for-profit, privately owned broadcaster is going to solve the fundamental structural problems we are all facing. Mixing oil and water doesn't work. It just makes a mess," Mr Duncan said.

He added that there was "no question of Channel 4 going bust," but said the downturn in advertising meant its ability to invest in quality British content "is severely pressurised". Mr Duncan told a conference run by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, that 2009 "promises to be an interesting year".

He said: "The recession is deepening and prompting some radical re-thinking of the balance between public benefit and private gain in the way we manage our affairs".

He praised the British media industry, saying it had done well in managing and regulating broadcast media through "the best of market forces combined with enlightened public intervention. "Excellent as it has been, that system is now on the point of collapse," he added.

This comes as the government considers ways to shape the digital future of Britain. Lord Stephen Carter is preparing to release his interim report, titled Digital Britain, later this month. "This surely is the time to think about how we might re-boot a system that has served Britain so well," Mr Duncan said.

He called for the plan to include universal access to broadband, a sentiment echoed by Lord Carter in a speech in Westminster on Wednesday.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Jemma Gent: Project Coordinator

£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable