C4 programme budget to break £500m after successful year

Liz Thomas

For the first time ever, Channel 4′s programme budget will exceed £0.5 billion over the course of 2006.

The amount it will spend on its core channel has jumped by £15 million to £505 million, while annual investment in its digital services has also increased. E4 will enjoy its second budget increase in as many years with a £7 million or 12% uplift to £67 million. In 2005 the channel’s programme budget was increased by 50% from £40 million to £60 million to coincide with its launch on Freeview. The broadcaster has also pledged to spend an extra 31% or £5 million on its New Media division.

Chief executive Andy Duncan said: “Channel 4 has been at the top of its creative game in 2005. Success breeds success and, as a result of what we’ve achieved in 2005, we’re able to raise our editorial spend to record levels and continue to invest in our future. It is our viewers and users who enjoy the fruits of our success, not corporate shareholders. More money in budgets means more public service programmes like Jamie’s School Dinners, Green Wing and A Very Social Secretary, more bespoke content and dedicated services on new media platforms and, hopefully, a strong share of ratings and revenue again this year.”

Last month it announced strong ratings over 2005, with close to a 10% share, a figure which helped Channel 4 beat BBC2′s audience share for the first time in a decade – and only the third time in history. All other terrestrial stations recorded a drop in viewers.

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