The BBC Trust and the S4C Authority have signed a renewed agreement which covers the partnership between the two broadcasters until 2013, when new funding arrangements agreed in the new licence fee settlement will come into effect.
The partnership agreement covers the BBC’s statutory obligation to supply S4C with at least 10 hours of programming per week (520 hours over the year), funded out of the licence fee.
New provisions include the immediate availability of all BBC-produced S4C programmes on the BBC iPlayer and a commitment to deliver Pobol y Cwm in high definition by the end of 2011.
Other changes include the establishment of a Joint News Review Board which will discuss and consult on the performance and strategic development of the BBC’s News service on S4C.
Branding on all future programming delivered by the BBC under the agreement will be increased so that licence fee payers can more easily tell which programmes are funded from the licence fee.
A new performance measurement framework has been agreed for the BBC’s contribution to S4C, which will enable the Trust and the S4C Authority to better assess the public value and audience awareness of BBC-contributed programming. Welsh viewers and listeners will be given the opportunity to contribute their views on a wide range of topics. Audience feedback will be shared by both bodies.
The agreement also confirms the previously announced reduction in funding for the 10 hours of weekly programming, from £23.5 million in 2010/11, to £19.4 million in 2012/13.
The new agreement was negotiated by the S4C management team and the
BBC Executive and subsequently approved by the S4C Authority and the BBC Trust in December 2010. It comes into effect immediately, replacing the previous agreement which ran from 2007 to 2009.
BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons said: “The renewed partnership builds on our strong relationship with S4C and underpins the BBC’s existing long-standing commitment to Welsh language broadcasting.”
BBC Trustee for Wales, Elan Closs Stephens, said: “This agreement provides security of the BBC’s funding for programming over the next two years, delivering content valued by Welsh-language audiences. It will take us through to 2013 when the new arrangements set out in the recent licence fee settlement are introduced. These arrangements are currently being negotiated between the Trust, S4C and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.”
Rheon Tomos, Vice Chairman of the S4C Authority has welcomed the renewed agreement.
Rheon Tomos said: “We look forward to working in partnership with the BBC and the new provisions under the agreement will help us build on the existing close relationship between us. Viewers tell us that the provision of high quality programmes places S4C at the heart of Welsh culture and is vital to maintaining the Welsh language. Our agreement with the BBC will be crucial as we strive to achieve these aims.”
Notes to Editors
The previous partnership agreement between the BBC and S4C was due to expire at the end of 2009, but was subsequently extended until the end of 2010 to allow negotiations between the respective management teams to be completed.