BBC Cymru Wales and S4C have announced that all of S4C’s programmes will be available on BBC iPlayer by autumn next year.
The technical work on the project will start immediately, with the intention of ensuring S4C’s presence as a full channel, available to view live and on demand, on BBC iPlayer by autumn 2014. S4C will be the only independent channel available on iPlayer and the development reflects the unique partnership between the channel and the BBC.
BBC iPlayer is available for free on over 650 platforms and devices in the UK. In June this year, the popular video on-demand service received 239 million requests for BBC TV and radio programmes – up 45 per cent on June 2012. It allows viewers to watch programmes live or catch up on ones they’ve missed wherever and whenever they want to - on PCs, mobiles, tablets and internet connected TVs. Viewers also have the option to download TV programmes on some devices to watch at another time.
The plan was given the go-ahead by the BBC Trust after S4C made a request to the BBC to appear as a full channel with all its programmes available on iPlayer. The aim is to launch the new service, initially for a trial period of 18 months, in autumn 2014.
Editorial arrangements will be formally agreed between the BBC Trust and the S4C Authority prior to launch.
According to Sian Gwynedd, BBC Cymru Wales’ Head of Welsh Language Programmes and Services, this is a significant development which will ensure that all of the BBC’s and S4C’s Welsh language television and radio programmes will be available in one place.
Sian Gwynedd said:
“This is a very important development which will ensure that all Welsh language programmes from the BBC and S4C, as well as BBC Radio Cymru’s programmes, will be available live and on demand not only to audiences in Wales but across the UK.
“BBC Wales is committed to broadening the appeal and reach of Welsh language content online and this development supports our desire to improve what we offer to Welsh speakers by making it easier for users to find Welsh language content.
“In a global digital market no one can deny the challenge facing the Welsh language but through working in partnership with S4C, we can take advantage of the incredible growth in popularity and usage of BBC iPlayer to bring Welsh language programmes to the largest possible number of viewers. It’s amazing that through working together closely and constructively we can offer this service to our audiences, and establishing S4C as the only independent channel on BBC iPlayer reflects our unique partnership with S4C.”
S4C’s Chief Executive, Ian Jones said:
“Ensuring that S4C’s content is on BBC iPlayer is a very exciting development. The great advantage of BBC iPlayer is that it is available on over 650 devices and platforms for free in the UK – which provide new ways to showcase S4C’s excellent content.
“This is another substantial step forward in our efforts as a channel to ensure that S4C content is available in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible.”
Since its launch in 2007, BBC iPlayer has evolved to include entire series, films, radio programmes and live TV channels and radio stations. BBC Wales’ Welsh language programmes for S4C and BBC Radio Cymru’s programmes are already available on BBC iPlayer.