S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru - Channel Four Wales) started broadcasting at 18:00 on Monday 1 November 1982. To begin with, 22 hours of Welsh language programmes were broadcast every week, alongside English programmes from the Channel 4 service. Today, S4C is a wholly Welsh language channel broadcasting over 115 hours of programmes each week. It commissions independent producers from across Wales to make the majority of its programmes. ITV Cymru Wales is also commissioned to produce programmes. BBC Cymru Wales provides around 10 hours of programming per week for S4C, including the news and daily soap Pobol y Cwm, funded out of the licence fee. S4C's main offices are in Llanishen, Cardiff; there is also an S4C office in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.
Before 1982, a limited number of Welsh language programmes were broadcast on BBC 1 and ITV. During the 1970s, the UK government decided a fourth television channel would be established alongside BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. This proposed fourth channel was seen by many as an opportunity for a new beginning in public service broadcasting in Wales. Following intensive campaigning, S4C was established by the 1980/1981 Broadcasting Acts.
Since April 2013, 90% of S4C's income comes from the license fee in agreement between the S4C Authority and BBC Trust. This has been agreed until 2022. Around 8% comes from the UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) until 2018. S4C also has some powers to generate its own commercial income, for example, through advertising sales, providing around 2% of the channel's funding.
The S4C Unitary Board is an independent broadcasting authority, responsible for S4C's strategic policy. The Chair and members of the Unitary Board are appointed by the UK government's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, following an open application process.
S4C broadcasts a variety of programmes such as sport, drama, music, factual, news, entertainment and events, across a range of platforms, including online. S4C offers comprehensive services for children: Cyw for younger viewers, Stwnsh for older children and programmes for teenagers.
In Wales, S4C is available on Freeview 4, Sky 104, Virgin TV 166 and Freesat 104.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, S4C is available on Sky 134, Freesat 120 and Virgin TV 166.
S4C are available online and on demand at s4c.cymru, BBC iPlayer, YouView, tvcatchup.com, TVPlayer.com and other platforms, throughout the UK, acnd can be accessed through the S4C App for Apple and Android devices.
Selected programmes are available to watch internationally at s4c.cymru
For more details, please contact S4C's information service, the Viewers' Hotline.