Huw Jones, Euryn Ogwen Williams, Owen Evans, and Ruth McElroy
Following the recently published DCMS Review of S4C, authored by Euryn Ogwen Williams, RTS Wales hosted an event to discuss the broadcaster’s future at the University of South Wales on April 19th. Ogwen Williams was one of the panel members in the ATRiuM, in a discussion chaired by Ruth McElroy, Professor of Creative Industries at the USW, along with S4C Chief Executive Owen Evans and S4C Chairman, Huw Jones.
Jones delivered an opening presentation, setting out S4C’s response to the Review, welcoming the UK Government’s aim to free up the broadcaster to commission digital non-broadcast content. “The promise of a new remit – with an emphasis on digital development and a wide-ranging audience – is fundamental” said Jones. He also announced plans to spend £3 million over the next 3 years to fund a new digital strategy, adding that, “internally, new skills will be needed – a new mindset – driving new developments forward while maintaining the linear channel”. Owen Evans added that new technologies offer S4C the opportunity to understand audience preferences through analytics and the personalisation of its digital services.
In response to a question from Colin Nosworthy of the Welsh Language Society, Ogwen Williams explained why the Review recommended that S4C be funded entirely by the licence fee, absorbing the current DCMS grant, (currently around 8% of the channel’s income). “In my view it is a choice between receiving government funding which could vary annually and the stability offered by a fully funded licence fee settlement for a five year period” said Ogwen Williams.
The UK Government announced its response on the same day as the Review was published, and it has asked S4C to provide a detailed implementation plan by July 2018.