​How S4C's digital broadcasting strategy is winning in Wales

7 September 2021

When it comes to reaching OTT and social media audiences, Welsh public broadcaster, S4C, is showing how to harness the power of digital broadcasting.

The Carmarthen-based broadcaster is delivering content faster than most other media outlets and in addition to localising it in Welsh, they are publishing on more than 100 digital channels micro-targeted to specific interests.

S4C provides sports, news, factual, drama, entertainment and children's programmes and makes them broadly accessible across multiple channels in various forms, including:

- near-live, snackable clips;

- highlight reels such as game summaries;

- "pop-up/instant" live streams to cover breaking news

- live streams to watch premium sports events;

To address the growing fragmentation of digital platforms and audiences, S4C has embraced an efficient and agile media workflow based on such leading cloud technologies as Wildmoka whose Digital Media Factory is at the core of S4C's digital broadcasting leadership in Wales.

S4C – the leading public broadcaster in Wales

S4C is a free-to-view Welsh television network and one of the oldest terrestrial channels in the country.

As a public broadcaster, S4C's mission is to inform and entertain citizens while prioritising Welsh language content.

The network covers news, weather, entertainment and sports events via linear TV, OTT platforms (app and website - s4c.cymru), and more than 100 channels on social media platforms.

Publishing more content, faster

We sat down with Alun Jones who is in charge of the company's social media strategy, to learn about S4C's goals and learn how they use Wildmoka's Digital Media Factory to support their strategy.

S4C aims to be the first to publish live and edited digital content to their audiences. "Speed is key," said Jones, "to get the clips 'near-live' is very important to us and since there is nothing faster than live, it is also critical to have the ability to live stream any video in moments, with just 2 to 3 clicks."

This, Alun Jones added is where Wildmoka's Digital Media Factory helps S4C achieve their goals.

By connecting to the cloud-based platform, remote editors can rapidly edit and publish content through an easy-to-use web interface.

Editors do not need to be video crafting experts to use Wildmoka – just a laptop with a standard internet connection and they can focus on being good storytellers.

"There is no time wasted waiting for uploads and downloads of video files over the internet," Jones explained. "Everything is accessible from one central cloud-based platform and any number of users can collaborate simultaneously to make the best content available."

Using Wildmoka's cloud-based platform also supports S4C's operating model. S4C works with more than 100 editors, some of whom are from independent TV production companies supplying S4C or work on a freelance basis.

The Digital Media Factory allows unlimited number of editors to access content, edit and publish it, all while ensuring users rights and permissions are set as appropriate.

Localising content

As one of Wales' national public broadcasters, S4C publishes content in the Welsh language but with a growing focus on reaching wider audiences, S4C has the ability to easily create the corresponding subtitles.

Alun Jones highlighted Wildmoka's powerful subtitling features allow editors to rapidly apply Welsh or English language subtitles to any content.

"We no longer need an external, closed-captioning tool. This drastically improves the efficiency of our video production supply chain – both in terms of speed to produce as well as editorial efforts to produce subtitled content".

Dealing with content diversity

To stand out from the crowd, modern broadcasters need to provide a wide variety of content types and S4C is doing just that. Thanks to the Wildmoka Digital Media Factory, S4C produces:

- Near-live clips for sports, such as UEFA Euro 2021, Le Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Rugby World Cup, United Rugby Championship and others.

- Highlight reels showing 'best of' long-form content,

- Live streaming to digital platforms: Major live sports events such as the U20's Six Nations Rugby, 2021 Tour de France and 2021 Giro d'Italia simultaneously streamed live on Facebook and YouTubeLive pop-up streams on social media for breaking news, such as government COVID-19 announcements

S4C has multiple video feeds (sources) ingested and available within the Wildmoka platform, enabling editors to easily extract and create all forms of content to target different digital destinations.

As an example, near-live clips of a sports event can be posted on social channels to inform viewers that something amazing is happening and to encourage them to jump onto S4C's OTT on-going live stream.

Delivering on goals, consistently

As a national public broadcaster, S4C has a mission to inform and entertain Welsh audiences – whether they watch content on linear TV, OTT or social media.

By using the Wildmoka Digital Media Factory, Jones noted, "S4C has complete flexibility. We can publish where we want, when we want with no limits. We have the ability to diversify as much as we need and deliver content fast".

Ultimately, the ability to quickly add subtitles in Welsh and English and distribute to their audiences means S4C "delivers on its organisational mission as a public broadcaster" in the digital era.

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