BSkyB slams C4...

Pay-TV broadcaster BSkyB has heavily criticised Channel 4 for “wasting” £270m on a slew of failed businesses. BSkyB made the allegations in a letter to the UK government’s Communications Minister, Lord Stephen Carter. Channel 4 has widely let it be known that the advertising downturn means it is facing a funding gap of some £150m in the next few years.

The cash crisis is so severe that Channel 4’s bosses have volunteered drastic cuts in their own (perhaps generous) salaries and bonuses. Kevin Lygo, C4 director of television and content, has cut 25% from his basic £750,000 salary and said he will not take a bonus this year. Last year his total remuneration package was more than £1m. C4 has cut staff by 15% already, and has trimmed its £620m programming budget by £40m.

BSkyB’s letter forms part of its submission to Lord Carter’s UK Digital Report. The full report is due in early summer. Sky says that C4 is in a much stronger financial position than many of its commercial broadcasting rivals, and has cash reserves of £425m, and argues that C4 should quit many of its unprofitable ventures, and instead create new sources of revenues. Those could include a portfolio of paid for channels which Sky would offer to viewers.