Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which - although largely commercially self-funded - is ultimately publicly owned. The channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the United Kingdom in addition to the television licence-funded BBC's two services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV.
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Channel 4 is a publicly-owned, commercially-funded public service broadcaster. It does not receive any public funding and has a remit to be innovative, experimental and distinctive.
Channel 4 works across television, film and digital media to deliver its public service remit, as outlined in the 2003 Communications Act and the 2010 Digital Economy Act.
Channel 4 was launched on 2 November 1982 with a unique business model, under the Broadcasting Act 1981. It is funded predominantly by advertising and sponsorship, but unlike other broadcasters such as ITV, Channel 4 is not shareholder owned.
Channel 4 is a statutory corporation, independent of Government, and governed by a unitary board made up of executive and non-executive directors, who are responsible for ensuring that Channel 4 fulfils its remit and delivers its financial responsibilities.
Non-executive directors are appointed by OFCOM in agreement with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This system ensures its not-for-profit status; that it is held accountable and that all profit generated by its commercial activity is directly reinvested back into the delivery of its public service remit.
In addition to the main Channel 4 service, its portfolio includes E4, More4, Film4 and 4Music, as well as an ever-growing range of online activities that includes channel4.com, Channel 4's bespoke video-on-demand service 4oD and standalone digital projects. Through its film arm Film4 Channel 4 is also a key supporter of British film making talent.
As a publisher-broadcaster, Channel 4 is required to commission UK content from the independent production sector. It is a major investor in the UK's creative economy, working with around 300 creative companies from across the UK every year and investing significantly in training and talent development throughout the industry.