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Welsh language TV channel improves on demand services

Tuesday, July 21st 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Welsh language broadcaster S4C has announced major changes to its TV on demand services.

The first S4C on demand app for Android was launched yesterday, alongside a new iPhone app and on demand website.

The Android app makes it possible for viewers to watch S4C’s programmes, both live and on demand, on a wider range of smartphones and tablets.

It features a Cyw Tiwb button, which gives access to programmes from the channel’s pre-school service Cyw.

The on demand section of the S4C website has been redesigned to make it easier for viewers to find the content they want to watch. The website also now adapts automatically for different screen sizes.

It was developed by S4C's in-house team, who also worked alongside developers Moilin to create the new apps.

Cable.co.uk previously reported that Welsh language content from S4C had been getting an average 110,000 weekly viewing sessions on BBC iPlayer.

But figures released earlier this week by Ofcom showed that S4C’s audience share in Wales had dropped slightly to 1%, with its viewing share at peak time dipping from 1.6% in 2013 to 1.3% in 2014.

Ofcom’s report on public service television broadcasting said S4C programming was watched for an average of 12.6 hours per individual – the fourth consecutive year of decline.

It is also unclear at the moment whether cuts to the BBC’s budget will have an impact on S4C.

The channel's CEO Ian Jones said: “We are announcing the development to S4C's online on demand services during a period when the discussion about the channel's future funding is receiving a lot of attention.

“Although this of course is of the utmost importance to the channel, the Welsh language and to an important part of the Welsh economy, we must continue to ensure that the channel's content is available in the way people want to watch.

'Funding for the future'

“The numbers who choose to watch S4C online and on mobile devices has increased dramatically in recent years.

“With this in mind I'm very proud that these developments will enhance the experience for those watching our content.”

Mr Jones said the new apps gave viewers more opportunities than ever before to watch S4C.

“Viewing habits are changing, and it’s more important than ever that S4C offer opportunities for the audience to find the channel online in many different ways in order to meet their needs,” he added.

S4C's annual report, released today, shows a 6% reduction in terms of weekly viewing in Wales, but a 10% increase in the total number of weekly TV viewers.

The report reveals a 31% increase in the number of online viewing sessions of S4C content, from 4.4m in 2013/14 to 5.7m in 2014/15.

Huw Jones, chairman of the S4C Authority, the Welsh-language broadcaster's governing body, said: “This report is published during a critically important period in the history of S4C as the government begins discussions regarding our funding for the future.

“It appears that we are seeing a situation where people who have moved out of Wales are using technology to keep in touch with Welsh life and the language in increasing numbers.

"At the same time younger viewers are turning away from the television screen towards new media, and young Welsh-speakers are on average less likely to use the language than older people.

"S4C must grasp both of these challenges simultaneously – while still providing for the audience which expects a constant flow of new programmes on the traditional screen.

"Securing sufficient funding in order to fulfil this complex task in future will be essential.”

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