UK's Channel 4: Ad markets are 'volatile', Q4 will be 'tricky'

FILE PHOTO: General view of Channel 4 Television studios in London

LONDON (Reuters) -The chief executive of Britain's Channel 4 said ad markets were "volatile", and the important final quarter was likely to be "tricky" for advertisers.

"It's fair to say on advertising nobody knows yet, it's a pretty volatile market," Alex Mahon said at the Royal Television Society's London Convention on Tuesday.

"The truth is for advertisers it's all about Christmas this year. The year has been OK so far, quarter four is going to be tricky, perhaps a lot of that will be pushed into quarter one next year, but it's really hard to call," she said.

She said changes to the energy price cap - government intervention to limit soaring gas and electricity bills from next month - would make a difference to consumer confidence.

"But I don't think anyone, it appears even the Bank of England or the government, has got a clear view on what is going to happen," she added.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson's government was pursuing the sale of Channel 4, saying such a move would ensure the future of the publicly owned but ad funded broadcaster.

Britain's new government changed tack when Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said earlier this month she was re-examining the case for privatisation.

Mahon, who has opposed a sale, said the broadcaster was in discussions with the government "about where they want to end up and what the options are".

"They'll look at the things that I like: facts, data and evidence," she said.

"I've made my position and point of view on that clear, and then we'll see what the coming weeks and months hold."

(Reporting by Paul Sandle, Editing by Kylie MacLellan and Louise Heavens)