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Welsh language online TV in greater demand than ever before

Thursday, May 21st 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The success of Welsh language content on the iPlayer is being repeated across the BBC, according to figures released by the corporation.

Welsh TV channel S4C was launched as a channel on the iPlayer last year and has been getting an average 110,000 weekly viewing sessions so far in 2015.

BBC Cymru Wales says new figures suggest more Welsh language audiences are consuming content across a range of technologies than ever before.

The BBC’s new Welsh language website Cymru Fyw has tripled its user base in its first 12 months, growing from 10,000 unique weekly browsers to an average of almost 30,000.

BBC Radio Cymru podcasts have also seen a steep rise in popularity.

More than 35,000 podcasts were downloaded from the station in February and reached an all-time high in March with 46,749 downloads.

The top three podcasts are Beti a’i Phobol, Pigion (highlights for Welsh learners) and Stori Tic Toc – a bedtime story for children broadcast every Sunday night at 7pm.

Sian Gwynedd, BBC Wales’ head of Welsh language services, said: “People of all ages are rapidly changing the way they use technology – especially in terms of mobiles and tablets.

'Unique content'

“So it’s even more important that we offer digital services in Welsh, which are both relevant and accessible.

“The Cymru Fyw team have worked hard to provide unique content which appeals to audiences of all ages, and with Radio Cymru offering more podcasts than ever before, it’s great to see the download figures increasing too.”

S4C is partly funded by advertising revenue and also receives a fixed annual grant from the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

As well as featuring on the iPlayer, S4C provides its own free on demand service, Clic, which features live-streaming and signed programming as well as a 35-day catch-up service and archived shows.

In 2013, Clic had nearly four million online viewing sessions, increasing from 2.8m in 2012.

S4C, in its report ‘The future of Welsh language television’, said that while access to smartphones and tablets had changed the way people watch TV, S4C will still need to provide a comprehensive linear TV service.

“Audiences still enjoy the so-called ‘watercooler moment’ of discussing the previous evening’s programme the following day, but they also expect to be able to download and access content at a time and place of their choosing,” it said.

“It seems that downloads are in addition to, rather than instead of, linear watching, though this may change if we consider the behaviour of early adopters of new technology and younger audiences.”

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