In 1979, the Independent Broadcasting Authority was given responsibility for the fourth UK terrestrial TV channel. Channel 4 launched on November 02 1982 at 4.40pm with a preview of programmes coming up on the channel. The first proper programme was the word and numbers game 'Countdown', hosted by Richard Whiteley, at 4.45pm.
From its inception in November 1982 until December 31 1992, Channel 4 had been a subsidiary of the IBA/ITC, funded by subscriptions levied on the ITV companies in exchange for which the companies sold Channel 4’s airtime.
Channel 4 had a statutory duty to provide information, education and entertainment; to appeal to tastes and interests not generally catered for by ITV; to encourage innovation and experiment and to have a distinctive character of its own. A wide range of programmes were to be provided, and minimum amounts allocated for news, current affairs, schools programmes and other programmes of an educational nature.
Channel 4 made very few of the programmes it transmitted. Its news service was supplied by ITN and it commissioned most of its programmes from independent producers.
From January 01 1993, the channel sold its own advertising.