S4C Chief Executive Ian Jones has called on the independent production sector to work closely with the Channel to simplify the programme commissioning process to ensure greater stability and more creative competition within the broadcasting industry in Wales.
In a speech at the annual general meeting of TAC – the trade organisation for Welsh independent television producers - in Aberystwyth today, Ian Jones said that we all need to “move away from the ‘You and Us' way of thinking and move towards a healthier and more efficient creative partnerships.”
Ian Jones emphasised it was important for everyone in the industry - broadcasters, producers and commissioners alike – to look forward to the future together.
He said that S4C had already announced a new commissioning structure, led by a Director of Content and four Content Commissioners. He said that this commissioning structure would be a continuous process, replacing the current system of commissioning windows. Under the new strategy, funding would be earmarked for smaller companies and new talent. Ian Jones also announced a moratorium in the tendering process for this year in cases where commissioners were satisfied with both the creative and financial aspects of series being broadcast in 2012.
Ian Jones announced that negotiations have started with the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Ed Vaizey, to try to widen S4C’s remit to enable the channel to increase its multimedia activity. S4C is also keen to make better use of the Channel’s archive in its on-line services. Ian Jones has asked the production companies to work closely with S4C in this field.
In order to ensure that companies receive more feedback about their programmes, Ian Jones says that S4C will share elements of its research results with the sector.
Notes to editors:
S4C's new commissioning strategy will mean moving away from an editorial system where commissioning decisions are being made by a commissioning committee to a system where decisions are made by individual commissioners which focuses on developing ideas and talent. Under the new structure, the commissioners will take commission decisions under the supervision of the Director of Content. The commissioners will work closely with producers in the process of discussing and nurturing ideas before they actually commission to ensure that the best ideas reach the screen. The commissioners will commission content for S4C programmes and all multi-platform content in accordance with S4C's programme and multi-platform strategies. The prime objective of this system is to simplify the current process, make decisions more quickly and change the emphasis in the commissioning team from a supervisory role to discussing and developing ideas. The structure is one that encourages partnership and cooperation across the creative sector in Wales and beyond.