Friday, 5 August 2011

S4C, between a rock and a ...

... hard place, it has to create a broadcasting plan that is neither fish nor fowl, to wit ...
... it has to appeal to people who live their lives mainly through the medium of Welsh, Welsh speakers for whom the language does not play a big part in their lives, and also for those who do not speak Welsh at all.
According to John Osmond reporting on an IWA broadcasting debate at the Wrexham Eisteddfod yesterday 4th August ...
S4C is working out its future against a backdrop of Wales suffering a net loss of 3,000 Welsh speakers every year. At the same time the channel’s audience is overwhelmingly made up of older people. The proportion of Welsh speakers aged over 65 tuning in to S4C every week is 73 per cent. However, this compares with just 38 per cent of Welsh speakers aged 35 to 44 who regularly watch the channel on a weekly basis.
There is the other section of society in Wales, mostly under the age of 35 who would best be described as "culturally international", it is noticeable that the debate washed over this most important group, it's also relevant that this group are both Welsh and English speakers.  Can there be a long term future for this broadcaster when the base target population is in terminal decline and the replacement audience prefers the output of Hollywood.

So what exactly are we going to get for our £100 million a year ?


  1. "So what exactly are we going to get for our £100 million a year?"

    It's a question every politician should be asking - because you can bet your bottom dollar Jeremy Hunt will be. S4/C's in the last chance saloon and there was nothing in this report of the new chairman's comment to suggest any dynamism or ideas as to how to get out of its predicament (for which it is largely responsible) and, as you ask, start delivering on the money it gets.

    Until now, S4/C has relied too much on unconditional love from Wales' political classes. I think you and I come from different camps, in as much as I very much want a Welsh language channel to continue. But one thing we do agree over is the power of competition - who out there wants to try it?

  2. I believe that S4C has to succeed as a weapon in the political fight with nationalism, so it is important to get it stabilised for the future.

    If we get more of the same S4C will remain in decline, all will have been lost and Hunt will have given Plaid and Cymdeithas yr Iaith a bat to beat up on the Union at the time when nationalism is in decline, if the agenda can be shifted permanently from culture to economic the Union will win.

    So the future of S4C is important.