S4C today announced a major expansion of its children's programming.
This follows a public consultation by the S4C Authority in the summer of 2007 on proposals to develop new Welsh language television services for children in the run-up to digital switchover. The proposals received overwhelming public support.
From June onwards, programming for nursery age children will be broadcast every weekday morning from 7.00am-1.30pm on S4C’s digital channel, S4C Digidol.
The new service will feature original Welsh programming, including Bafta Cymru award-winning live-action series Meees, song and dance show Triongl, other S4C favourites such as animations Holi Hana, Sali Mali and Sam Tân and brand new programmes.
The new, year-round service will be available to view on-line at s4c.co.uk, where rights allow. There will also be a strong interactive element to support both younger viewers’ learning and parents who are taking up Welsh.
The service is a major increase on the current provision, which consists of one hour of nursery programmes broadcast at weekday lunchtimes, with additional programming during school holidays.
John Walter Jones, Chair of the S4C Authority, said: “I am delighted that S4C, as a public service broadcaster, is enhancing its commitment to children’s services with this significant expansion of nursery programming. Today’s announcement is a direct investment into the future of Welsh language broadcasting.”
Iona Jones, S4C’s Chief Executive, said: "As part of S4C's strategy in preparation for digital switchover, a number of key public service broadcasting initiatives are coming to fruition. S4C is already one of the largest purchasers of original children’s programming in the UK and the growth of our children’s services will build further on original UK production.”
Phase two of S4C’s children’s services will be for the 7-11 age group and phase three for the 12+ age group. Work on developing these additional services is ongoing.
S4C will fund the new service from its current budget.
In line with S4C’s tendering policy, which promotes contestability between production companies, tenders for creative opportunities for the new children’s service will shortly be published.
Full details of the new nursery service will be announced in due course.
Note to Editors
1. The S4C Authority is the independent body responsible for overseeing S4C. The Authority is appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
2. Digital switchover takes place in Wales in 2009/10.
3. S4C Digidol broadcasts around 80 hours per week of Welsh language programming. Following digital switchover, this will be the main S4C television service.
4. Holi Hana, Sam Tân and Meees are also available in English under the titles Hana’s Helpline, Fireman Sam and Baaas.