S4C has published a new Vision for 2012-15 which aims to provide thought-provoking, contemporary programmes which reflect Wales’ different communities.
The Vision has been created in response to cuts to the Channel’s budget announced last year by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. For 2012-2015, S4C’s programme budget will be a minimum of £65m per annum. In 2012, the programme budget will be £67m, with the additional monies identified as part of an ongoing review of internal costs. These figures compare with a programme budget of £83m in 2010 and £78.7m in 2011.
As part of the Vision, S4C’s programme schedule will be overhauled. The Channel will continue to broadcast during the day, but the emphasis will be on those hours in the evening which attract the most viewers. There’ll be a dynamic, lively and entertaining feel to content, with an emphasis on clear and an easy-to-follow style of Welsh.
Detailed, far-reaching research into viewers’ needs has been undertaken and forms the basis for the Vision. A survey of 1,000 Welsh speakers was held by RMG Clarity, and six discussion groups – which will form the pilot for a new consultation panel for the future - were interviewed by YouGov. A public consultation was also held.
S4C consulted with 40 production companies, TAC (Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru – the Welsh Independent Producers’ Association) and PACT (the UK Trade Association of independent producers). Following the discussions – and crucial to the success of the Vision – S4C will establish afresh a new, open Creative Partnership with the independent sector.
S4C will adopt a new way of commissioning, which will feature three ‘windows’ each year, alongside a rolling commissioning process according to need. Contracts will also be offered on the basis of open and transparent tender competition.
S4C will work to ensure its online presence is as attractive and effective as possible. A New Media Forum has been established, which will help the Channel develop new projects in this area.
“The viewers’ needs have been our key priority as we’ve created a new Vision which will invigorate S4C’s programmes service,” said S4C Chief Executive, Arwel Ellis Owen. “S4C is facing its future with confidence, despite the fact there is less money available as well as major changes to the way we are to be funded.
“The significant challenge we’re facing means we have to think of creative, ground-breaking ways of developing the service during a period of change and convergence. We’ve looked anew at S4C in order to offer a service that will be even better for our viewers and users.
“Our new Vision will offer a variety of content of a high standard for viewers and users of different backgrounds, ages and areas. It’s a service that will appeal to Wales and Welsh people everywhere by responding to the needs and expectations of our audience. We will offer content that’s original, inventive, challenging and attractive – ‘must see’ programmes that will bring audiences together to discuss and share experiences.”
The documents can be downloaded at
•S4C is a unique Welsh language public service broadcaster. It first went on air at 6.00pm, Monday, 1 November 1982.
•Independent producers, as well as ITV Cymru Wales, produce the majority of S4C’s programmes. The BBC, under a statutory requirement, provides around ten hours per week of programming, including daily soap Pobol y Cwm.
•S4C broadcasts a range of programmes each week – from sport, drama and music to factual, entertainment, children and events – across a range of platforms including the web.
•The UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) funds S4C. The Channel also has some powers to generate commercial income. In 2010 DCMS announced major changes to the way S4C is to be funded. Discussions regarding these changes are ongoing between S4C, DCMS and the BBC.