Huw Jones: “Sufficient funding is essential” to meet future challenges
Appreciation strong and increased reach for S4C – on TV and Online
The Chair of the S4C Authority has stated that securing sufficient funding for the channel is essential in order to face the broadcasting challenges of the future. Huw Jones has made his comments as the channel’s Annual Report is published.
The S4C Annual Report 2014/15 reports on various aspects of the channel’s work. In terms of Usage and Reach during the year, the report shows a substantial increase in the total number of people who have viewed the content during the year – both on TV and online.
• A 10% increase was seen in the total weekly TV viewers (14/15 - 605k; 13/14 - 551k)
• A reduction of 6% was seen in weekly viewing in Wales (14/15 - 360k; 13/14 – 383k)
• A 31% increase was seen in the number of online viewing sessions of S4C content (14/15 – 5.7m; 13/14 - 4.4m)
The 2014/15 S4C Annual Report also concludes that:
• Appreciation of S4C is higher than other channels, with 84% of individuals asked saying they believe that that S4C is a channel that shows what it’s like to live in Wales.
• Cost per hour of all S4C’s transmission hours is now down to £10,709 – a reduction of 35% since 2009.
• Total economic impact of S4C was £170m during the year.
• S4C’s Children’s content saw increased reach and strong appreciation.
The report notes the S4C Authority’s assessment of the quality of the service throughout the year, praising the provision in a number of areas and suggesting the need for improvement in others. Concern is raised regarding the way in which pressure on the budget for programming is leading to an increase in the proportion of repeats.
As the S4C Annual Report was published, the Chair of the S4C Authority, Huw Jones said:
“This report is published during a critically important period in the history of S4C as the Government begins discussions regarding our funding for the future. We have seen a substantial increase in viewing of S4C on television across the UK. During the same period, a reduction was seen in Wales, which is not dissimilar to that which other public service channels have seen. At the same time, there has been, as expected, a large increase in online viewing. Research confirms that there is strong appreciation of the service S4C is providing.”
The figures published in the report show that the numbers of Welsh speakers watching the television service in Wales reduced during the year, while the numbers of viewers outside Wales increased substantially.
Huw Jones said:
“It appears that we are seeing a situation where people who have moved out of Wales are using technology to keep in touch with Welsh life and the language in increasing numbers. At the same time younger viewers are turning away from the television screen towards new media, and young Welsh-speakers are on average less likely to use the language than older people. S4C must grasp both of these challenges simultaneously – while still providing for the audience which expects a constant flow of new programmes on the traditional screen. Securing sufficient funding in order to fulfil this complex task in future will be essential.”
S4C’s Chief Executive, Ian Jones said:
“2014/15 was another challenging year for S4C’s staff and the production sector in Wales, and I’m confident that the conclusions of this report show that the hard work of recent years is bearing positive fruit.
“Despite the clear increases in the total viewing both on television and online and continued high appreciation of our product, we will not rest on our laurels, especially as viewing patterns suggest that less Welsh speakers in Wales are using Welsh language services. But with a substantial part of S4C’s audience watching from outside Wales, it appears that large numbers appreciate the service as a way of staying in touch with their homeland and their mother-tongue, as well as it being a source of entertainment and information.
“The priority now is maintaining the standard of the service in order to continue to increase the popularity of content. That will only be possible if the service has sufficient funding of course, and in that respect the responsibility lies with us all to ensure that that S4C’s independence and sufficient finance is secured for the future.”
A full copy of the S4C Annual Report for 2014/15 is available here:
For further information, please contact Sioned Williams on 07887 4555 72
Or contact the S4C Press Department on 02920 741 416