Portland TV, the adult broadcasting arm of Northern & Shell, has been the subject of a management buy-out by its managing director, Chris Ratcliff. Portland TV’s adult channels and on demand services – including Television X – will now be wholly owned by Chris Ratcliff’s Neon X.
“Having worked on the launch of Television X in 1995 and with the channel turning 21 this year, it feels like the right thing to do,” said Ratcliff. “It’s time to take the business to the next level and reassert Television X’s position in a converged media space in the UK and beyond. We’ve got strong brands, excellent programming, a loyal fan base and a great team to drive the business forward.”
The acquisition will see Ratcliff call for greater parity in the regulation of adult content in the UK so that broadcasting and on demand services, on and offshore companies, are regulated on equal terms. “UK adult businesses have been disadvantaged by burdensome regulations while unregulated offshore operators have been given free rein to plunder the market,” he said. “The current Government consultation on age verification for pornography presents a fantastic opportunity to ensure children are protected from inappropriate online content, safeguard adults’ rights to view legal adult entertainment and level the playing field for all adult providers irrespective of delivery method or jurisdiction.”
Rob Sanderson, Northern & Shell group finance director, commented: “We are pleased to conclude the sale of Portland TV operations, which were non-core to Northern & Shell’s strategic interests, and we believe the deal with Chris Ratcliff creates the best opportunity for the Portland business to continue to develop in the UK broadcasting market.”
In addition to launching Television X, Chris formed R18 distribution company Hot Rod Productions, before re-joining Portland in 2007 as programming director. He was appointed managing director in 2013. Chris is chair of industry trade association the Adult Provider Network and sits on the Council of the Digital Policy Alliance – the cross-party policy voice of the internet and technology sector in Westminster. He is currently industry lead on the DPA’s Age Verification working group.