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Letter: S4C Indepdent Review

October 30, 2017

In October, I asked Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom MP, about the future of S4C as a valuable broadcaster in Wales, providing quality and innovation. The S4C review was due on 31st October, and I met with Owen Evans, Chief Executive on Friday in Llanishen to discuss and support the fantastic work that they do.

As part of that, I wrote the following letter to Mr Hancock, Minister of State for Digital, and submitted a copy to the review.

Dear / Annwyl Mr Hancock,

Re: Independent Review of S4C

As you mentioned in your recent letter, Euryn Ogwen Williams is currently chairing an independent review of S4C, and will submit his final report and recommendations to the government in December 2017.

As Member of Parliament for Cardiff North, I am submitting my views to the review to advocate for the future of S4C, that provides a vital service to Wales’s 562,016 Welsh speakers, and the UK’s estimated 700,000 Welsh speakers.

S4C plays a vital role in supporting the Welsh economy and creative industries. Approximately 80% of their funding flows directly into the production sector, and independent research shows that during 2014/15, every pound invested by S4C in the creative industries in Wales was worth £2.09 to the economy. Furthermore, S4C are the second biggest investor in live action children’s programming in the UK and provide a vital service for children and young adults across Wales. The number of viewing sessions of children’s content for example rose from 2.5 million in 2014/15 to 5 million in 2015/16.

In addition, it is crucial to note that the level of plurality in the media in Wales has been a cause of concern for stakeholders and politicians of all parties over the last few years. As a strong and independent broadcaster, S4C is a vital part of the current media landscape in Wales. S4C makes a significant and important contribution towards pluralism in the Welsh media and in the areas of factual, drama, entertainment and sport, S4C competes with other television broadcasters to ensure the audience in Wales receives a service of the highest standard possible.

Independent Review

The ongoing independent review is considering S4Cs funding, remit and accountability arrangements. I wish to strongly support S4Cs excellent ten-year vision set out in “S4C: Pushing the Boundaries”, that explains that it needs to evolve to become a Public Service Media provider in order to:

  • meet the needs and expectations of today and tomorrow’s audience,
  • claim a place for the Welsh language in the digital world, and
  • bring about an enhanced economic impact on the Welsh and British economies.

Other Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) have been able to launch channels to target migrating audiences. However, S4C has not had the financial flexibility to explore similar options, and the current remit is old fashioned as it does not allow S4C to commission specifically for digital audiences.

Therefore, please consider S4Cs request to realise this vision, with the following requests:

1. Agreement that it is right for S4C to be a Public Service Media provider in the Welsh language and not simply a broadcaster.

2. A new remit to enable S4C to provide high quality, Welsh language Public Service Media content on television and digital platforms to the audience in Wales, across the UK and wider.

3. Stability, sufficiency and appropriate sources of funding – to arm S4C with adequate resource to deliver its remit in the digital age.

4. Additional investment each year on top of its existing budget to deliver and sustain the new type and levels of service described in the vision.

5. An objective and transparent process for deciding what constitutes sufficient funding for S4C, based on a new remit.

6. Appropriate accountability, governance and regulation arrangements – fit for the S4C of tomorrow.

As you mentioned in your recent letter to me, the Government is committed to the future of Welsh language broadcasting and supporting the valuable service S4C provides to Welsh speaking audiences, and wants to see the channel thrive and embrace the opportunities of a digital age.

In conlcusion, I hope you will consider my support of S4C’s requests for realising their vision to develop further as a new multi-platform, Welsh language media service that is engaging and constantly evolving in terms of the content commissioned and how people access that content.

Yours sincerely/ Yn gywir,

Anna McMorrin MP/AS
Member of Parliament for Cardiff North / Aelod Seneddol dros Ogledd Caerdydd


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