Channel 4 Plans Deepest Job Cuts in Over 15 Years After TV Ad Slump Threatens Budget

London, England – Channel 4, the British public service broadcaster, is planning to cut up to 200 jobs in order to navigate the worst TV advertising decline since 2008. This would mark the largest round of layoffs at the company in over 15 years. The broadcaster aims to reduce its wage bill, which currently exceeds £108 million per year, as it focuses on accelerating its digital streaming strategy and minimizing cuts to its content budget, which is over £700 million. The restructuring has been in the works since last year and is part of Channel 4’s efforts to become a digital-first organization.

The job cuts come as Channel 4 has experienced significant expansion in recent years, with its staff numbers reaching over 1,200. Although the percentage of cuts may not be as substantial as during the 2008 financial crisis, the higher headcount makes the impact more significant. The restructuring is expected to put pressure on London-based staff, despite the company’s commitment to increase employee numbers in other regions of the UK. Channel 4 currently has over 500 roles in cities like Leeds, Glasgow, Bristol, and Manchester.

The broadcaster’s chief executive, Alex Mahon, acknowledged the challenging economic climate and emphasized the need for Channel 4 to transform into a fully digital public service broadcaster. The company has already made budget cuts in its programming, cancelling and postponing the release of several shows. Mahon and other management executives are now strategizing a plan beyond 2025 to future-proof the business.

Channel 4 heavily relies on TV advertising, which accounts for two-thirds of its total revenue. While digital ad revenues have been growing at a healthy 14%, they are not enough to offset the decline in traditional TV advertising. The company also generates income from non-advertising sources, including its film division and partnerships.

Despite the difficult decisions ahead, Channel 4 is committed to supporting independent production companies and maintaining its role as a prominent force in British creative and cultural life. The broadcaster is considering tapping a £75 million credit facility in the coming months, although it currently has £253 million in reserve cash.

As Channel 4 prepares for its deepest job cuts in over 15 years, the company is navigating the challenges posed by a significant TV advertising downturn. The restructuring seeks to position Channel 4 as a digital-first broadcaster while minimizing the impact on its content budget. The broadcaster’s commitment to supporting the independent production sector remains strong, as it works towards securing its future as a relevant and rebellious force in British media.