Digital TV channels profitable this year, says C4 chief Duncan

Channel 4s portfolio of digital television channels will make a profit for the first time this year, according to chief executive Andy Duncan.

Andy%20Duncan%20Channel%204Channel 4’s portfolio of digital television channels will make a profit for the first time this year, according to chief executive Andy Duncan.

He says the portfolio, which includes entertainment channel E4 and free-to-air film channel Film4, will contribute to the broadcaster’s bottom line rather than being subsidised by the flagship station.

One external estimate puts C4 digital revenue at about £97m for 2007, an increase on the £88.6m generated in 2006.

Duncan made the claim in an interview with Marketing Week on the eve of the broadcaster’s 25th anniversary next month. He says: “[The] multi-channels will make a profit for the first time. That’s only going to grow and is a new source of income for us.”

Last year C4 profits plummeted 70% to £14.5m and the broadcaster’s ad revenues from its main channel fell broadly in line with the TV market, which was down about 7%.

Duncan estimates that other ventures, such as the on-demand internet service 40D, will generate money “in a couple of years”.

He also believes that urgent action is needed to measure viewing on the internet and through time-shifting devices such as personal video recorders.

“This is going to be very big indeed,” he says. “The industry needs to find a way to measure it [because] in a few years’ time a quarter or half of content will be time-shifted.

“If we are not capturing those figures properly, then that is going to be a major problem for advertisers and for our sales teams.”

But Duncan dismisses the threat of C4 privatisation as “unlikely” under this government or under a future government. He adds: “I passionately think that privatisation would destroy all that we are there for.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here