Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began transmissions on 2 November 1982. Although commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the station is now owned and operated by the Channel Four Television Corporation, a public body established in 1990, coming into operation in 1993.
The channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the UK that would break the duopoly of the Licence Fee-funded BBC's two established services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV. Channel 4 enjoys almost universal coverage in the UK and some neighbouring countries and a significant audience share, despite having seen new competition with the growth of cable, satellite and digital services.
Channel 4 was established with, and continues to hold, a remit of public service obligations which it must fulfil. The remit changes periodically, as dictated by various broadcasting and communications acts, and is regulated by the various authorities Channel 4 has been answerable to; originally the IBA, then the ITC and now Ofcom.