S4C today published its Content Strategy, devised for the bridging period between the beginning and the end of the digital switchover. The Strategy is aimed at delivering high-quality public service content for audiences in the multi-channel age.
Digital switchover takes place in Wales in August 2009 and will be completed in early 2010 by which time S4C will be a stand-alone Welsh-language channel.
The Content Strategy is for the period 2009-2013 and builds on S4C's Creative Excellence initiative, launched in 2004, which set out to re-define the channel in preparation for digital switchover. The Content Strategy sets out the channel’s vision as the provider of inventive, original, high-quality content that delivers value to audiences.
At digital switchover, S4C will provide a day-long service with content being commissioned across the four day parts - morning, afternoon, peak hours and late evenings. Content will be delivered to S4C by its supply chain – the independent production sector (which produces the majority of its programmes), BBC Wales and ITV Wales.
The Strategy states that television will remain the main medium for audiences for some time to come. However, content on broadband is also a feature of S4C's service and there will be an increasing role for other platforms in the channel's efforts to extend its impact and reach.
The Strategy has been informed by the preferences of the S4C audience. Audience research has shown that viewers strongly identify S4C as the channel for Wales with national events, sport, and music also being key content areas firmly associated with the channel. S4C is also appreciated for its representation of rural Welsh life and contemporary Welsh life.
Over the next five years, S4C will:
· Enhance and invest in its coverage of Welsh events - cultural and others;
· Commission programmes that celebrate the Welsh landscape;
· Offer high-quality drama, top-class entertainment and music;
· Schedule landmark factual series;
· Feature high-profile sports coverage - particularly rugby and football.
The key public service genres - news and current affairs and children's programming – are identified as continuing cornerstones. The impact of devolution, new Assembly powers and the social and political changes taking place in Wales will be addressed in a range of programmes that inform, explain and encourage debate. Cyw, the recently launched service for pre-school children, will be developed as will content for children of all ages.
Welsh learners are identified as an important part of the audience and S4C's online learners' service will be developed. Additionally, access services will provide more people with the opportunity to watch S4C.
By 2012, all of S4C's commissioned content will be produced in High Definition (HD) format.
Rhian Gibson, S4C's Director of Commissioning, said: "The strategy is very firmly rooted in S4C's role as a public service broadcaster. Our aim is to continue to deliver high-quality content for our diverse audience through digital switchover and beyond."
S4C's Content Strategy can be found at: http://www.s4c.co.uk/abouts4c/authority/e_index.shtml