Channel 4 and five (formerly Channel 5) in the UK have been looking at the benefits a merger between the two channels would bring, particularly in the face of new competition from ITV plc.
Carlton and Granada merged last year to become ITV plc, placing pressure on the remaining commercial channels to compete for advertising: ITV now has a single huge advertising sales mechanism.
Five is jointly owned by United Business Media and Germany’s RTL – but as Channel 4 is publicly owned, any change of this scale must be approved by an act of parliament.
Naturally both Channel 4 and five dismiss the reports of talks as speculation.
“Channel 4 might be interested in it because they are declining and we are growing” said a five spokesperson. Five claim a 6.5% share of all viewers – three quarters of the UK population watch Channel 4 in the course of a week.
More about Channel 4’s ownership