Channel 4 promised “intelligent” coverage of the Paralympic Games and last night it delivered on that promise.
The commentary team for the opening ceremony was markedly better than that assembled by the BBC for the Olympics, with lead presenter Jon Snow providing an insightful essay on the nations competing.
For those of us who appreciate facts and accuracy, Snow and team’s input was a welcome change from the insipid commentary the BBC provided for the Jubilee river pageant and Olympics opening ceremony.
On Twitter and elsewhere there were complaints about the presence of ad breaks. Well Channel 4 is a commercial broadcaster which needs to sell ad space in order to pay its bills.
The money raised from selling what seemed to be a reduced number of ads during a major peak time event will help fund the hundreds of hours of coverage the broadcaster will provide over the next two weeks.
We could have had ad-free coverage but the BBC decided it couldn’t spare enough of its £3bn annual cash delivery and vast amounts of broadcast hours to secure the rights to the Games.
BBC bosses may well be tempted to use the noise and disquiet as justification for the Corporation’s status as an unaccountable recipient of a vast pile of public cash.
Their upside down sense of priorities makes it easier for rivals to re-open the case for top-slicing the Licence Fee.
A broadcaster with a spare £20m for yet another reality/talent format is a broadcaster that can spare £20m towards funding public service broadcasting on other channels.