Fans of Deal or No Deal and other high-profile Channel 4 programmes will be sweating following the claim by the broadcaster’s chief executive, Andy Duncan, that search giant Google is threatening the “fantastic legacy” of UK TV.

While Internet revenues have been surging, advertisers are being slowly turned off by the uncertainties of spending their money on TV campaigns. On the web, click-throughs and various other tactics provide them with a much better chance of tracking precisely which ads are successful.

This has resulted in Google’s online ad revenues reaching an expected £900 million in the UK this year, overtaking Channel 4’s £800 million ad revenue and fast approaching that generated by the UK’s biggest TV ad earner, ITV.

Channel 4 says that lower income from the advertisers could mean it won’t be able to generate the funds to pay for high-quality content. Whether or not Noel Edmonds’ show falls into the “high-quality” category is arguable, but it’s an important point. How do TV content providers keep up with their web counterparts and increase their slice of internet-generated revenue, and thus supplement their ailing TV ad business?

The BBC is planning to cash in on the value of its brand by accepting ads on overseas editions of its site, but not many broadcasters are likely to be as successful as the BBC in attracting online revenue. Duncan warned that this “deep structural change” could soon impact the quality of traditional TV programming. Thanks heavens, then, for all the “high-quality” content that’s available for free on YouTube.