Some viewers must be left perplexed by the ongoing problems facing Channel 4 and its digital channels. They have, of course, been disrupted since a fire at Red Bee’s Broadcast Centre on Saturday.
The immediate disruption is easy to understand and explain. What must be harder for the layman to understand is why services are still being disrupted.
Some channels are off air, at least on some platforms, and live streaming has been unavailable.
For those who think some broadcasters have been too keen to treat linear broadcasting as a legacy, there is something quite amusing about hearing Channel 4 advise people missing the live streams that they should – er – watch TV for the moment.
It is unfair to speculate on just what has gone wrong. Red Bee is renowned for its professionalism and Channel 4 will be very concerned about the loss of services and potentially revenue.
Rules on advertising time allow some flexibility when airtime has been lost due to circumstances beyond the broadcaster’s control.
Still there must be questions to explore about just why a major public service broadcaster is still operating, apparently, in disaster recovery mode after so long.
That is not said in a spirit of criticism – no doubt many have very worked hard to get services up and running again. Rather the question is a positive one: how can a similar disaster be avoided in future?
Still Channel 4 and Red Bee are lucky to have avoided much public comment and scrutiny on this. They are very lucky that their problems are trivial compared to the risk to petrol supplies or CO2 or the shortages of HGV drivers.
Imagine what some commentators might be saying normally? Especially with Channel 4 in need of every friend it can get in its battle against privatisation.
PICTURED: Channel 4 ident. COPYRIGHT: Channel 4 Television Corporation.