Something not for nothing 

22 December 2008 tbs.pm/999

Channel 4’s targeting of BBC Worldwide assets is bold and, potentially, brilliant

The assertion that Channel 4 is attempting to do something that “is bold and, potentially, brilliant” may be true to an extent, but this move is also potentially very risky. Maybe the feeling amongst Channel 4 executives is that the BBC will do everything in their power to try to prevent BBC Worldwide’s assets from being devalued.

It’s also strongly arguable that this is a move of desperation that was presumably fueled by the realisation that proper legislative help for the channel is still years away.

BBC Worldwide may not be too receptive to Channel 4 making overt moves towards its assets, despite there being a form of willingness on the part of the BBC to somehow help Channel 4 as long as it doesn’t cause too much in the way of financial pain. BBC Worldwide is a commercial entity at heart despite being directly related to the BBC.

There’s also long term concerns over such a deal, especially as the distribution of physical media such as DVD’s could ultimately be replaced by media downloads; Channel 4 would be wise not to risk its future too much on this, since such a decline would exert additional financial pressure on both BBC Worldwide and (by definition) the BBC.

Channel 4 must be praying that 2entertain doesn’t go into administration since it would then lose the distribution rights to moneyspinners such as Doctor Who, and alternative distribution arrangements could complicate any of Channel 4’s self-help proposals via BBC Worldwide.