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Digital Fund to develop S4C presence beyond the TV screen

21/03/2013

S4C’s Digital Fund is succeeding to produce Welsh language content beyond the TV screen – and increase the viewers’ experiences of digital resources.

That’s the view of S4C’s Corporate and Commercial Director, Elin Morris as the channel published an update of its Digital Fund investments.

The Digital Fund, which is worth £1m a year over four years, ensures that the channel offers creative content and services across the digital platforms. S4C has a Digital Manager who works with the channel’s Programme Commissioners in order to ensure that interactive elements are commissioned alongside television programmes. The Digital Manager also ensures that additional digital content is available to the audience.

By using finance from the Digital Fund, S4C is working on a number of projects to release apps and new digital games, as well as e-books

• A 3D App to go with a new series for children about the natural world that will appear for the first time on S4C this year.

• An English language App will also be published to lead viewers to places featured in the ‘Llefydd Sanctaidd’ series. The Welsh language version was launched in February as the series was broadcast on S4C, and this English version will coincide with the English series that will be broadcast on BBC4. Both series which have been coproduced by S4C, Cwmni Da and Western Front Films, follow Ifor ap Glyn as he visits holy places throughout the British Isles.

• S4C is also working with partners to develop digital games in Welsh, for children and adults, that will be launched on tablets and games consoles during the year. This will put the Welsh language on some of the highest profile international platforms for the first time ever.

A number of e-books will also be appearing over the coming months through Digital Fund projects.

• New interactive e-books for children to be published soon, that will introduce children to some brand new and very colourful characters.

• We’ll bring an old classic back to life in electronic form later this year to coincide with a special on-screen documentary.

There are a number of other projects which are also receiving financial support from S4C:

• A scheme to enable young people to get their own material broadcast on S4C by filming elements of their own everyday lives. This will be a joint project with a number of other partners which will be launched in the summer.

• We’ll be working with the Theatr Genedlaethol, as they produce a theatrical event at Carmarthen Museum. We’ll turn it into a multiplatform event, targeting new audiences through digital means.

• Also appearing online will be the winning entrees into a competition for new writers. The 10 minute productions by the six best applicants will be broadcast on the web, with a chance for one of them to be shown on-screen too.

As S4C celebrated its 30th Anniversary last November, the channel’s Chief Executive Ian Jones said that he wants to ensure that S4C offers a full service across all digital platforms to meet viewers’ ever-changing demands.

S4C’s Corporate and Commercial Director, Elin Morris, said that the current plans will offer exciting new opportunities to the audience.

“S4C has put a firm emphasis on digital projects over recent months and its clear from the list of projects we have ongoing that we’ve hit on some exciting opportunities for our audience. The focus at the moment is on maintaining a strong link between what appears on-screen and additional digital projects which enhance the experience the viewer gets. These days people are looking for something extra to do while viewing programmes, and S4C is leading the way in developing ambitious ideas of that kind.

“Some digital schemes also lead to commercial opportunities that could lead to further benefits for S4C. We’re very keen to explore all avenues to find these opportunities – and work with all willing partners for the benefit of S4C’s services.”

S4C’s Digital Manager, Huw Marshall, said:

“A number of project we have created bring in interactive elements to our programmes which means viewers get additional value from S4C content. This intention comes from having listened to our audience and seeing the way viewing patterns are developing. For many of our younger people especially, the idea of using an additional device – whether that is a smartphone, tablet or a computer – while watching TV is perfectly natural. S4C is developing services which make the most of this significant change in the way we behave.”

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