S4C ... just report the bad news

S4C's Annual Report was published today, and I read two stories about it on Golwg 360 and the BBC website:

     Nifer gwylwyr S4C yn syrthio – Golwg 360
     Her S4C i'r dyfodol yn ôl eu hadroddiad blynyddol – BBC

Both reports give as their only audience figure the fact that the average number of peak hour viewers fell from 30,000 in 2009 to 28,000 in 2010.

Expecting the worst, I armed myself with a stiff drink before reading the report itself. Click the image to open it:


But I was rather pleasantly surprised by what was in it. For example:

•  The weekly reach has risen by 11.8% from 551,000 to 616,000. The figures for Wales are up by 4.0% from 449,000 to 467,000. The figures for viewers outside Wales are up by 46.1% from 102,000 to 149,000

•  The number of on-demand sessions on Clic has risen by 44.2% from 1,113,843 (though this was reported as 1,089,114 in last year's report) to 1,606,162

•  The most popular programme in 2009 had 427,000 viewers, in 2010 the most popular programme had 459,000 viewers

Of course it's a shame that one group of figures has gone down. But why on earth is this the only figure to be reported, especially since the overall figures have in fact risen rather than gone down? Are we a nation of masochists?

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Anonymous said...

You ask "are we a nation of masochists" quite light heartedly, but there has to be an explanation for the tendency in the media in Wales to submerge good news about Wales or Welsh efforts beneath a bad headline. It might be traceable to colonial conditioning. There must be examples of other pre-independence countries where there is a dominant mentality which suggests that anything indigenously or locally driven must be doomed to fail or at least doomed to be second-rate. National liberation causes throughout the world would be familiar with that. You see it all the time with economy, health stats etc. Usually in bunk comparisons to England.

Anonymous said...

Even worse, this is what BBC Wales decided to report on S4C's own Welsh language News Programme last night!! Talk about impartiality and journalistic integrity, and bare faced cheek. Is this an indication of how S4C would fare and be reported under the funding arm of BBC Wales too - this shows their true colours.

Cneifiwr said...

Compared with public broadcasting in other small countries (with much bigger populations) in Europe, I can tell you for a fact that S4C is miles better. The channel faces enormous difficulties, having to cram into one channel programming that is spread across a dozen English language channels in the UK, as well as having to somehow cater for both the Gogs and the Hwntws.

There are always things they could do better, but it makes my blood boil when I hear people dismissing everything on the channel as "rwtsh".
I'd like to force them to watch just one evening's output on, say, Swiss German or Swedish TV. News, news, recycled BBC stuff such as "Who do you think you are?", cheap magazine programmes which make Wedi 7 look brilliant, and then more news.

We can't just blame negative media reporting - too many of the channel's core audience play into the hands of those who would like to kill it off with their kneejerk moaning.

Iestyn said...

I remember coming across the same attitude in Rapa Nui - Easter Island - when I stayed there a few years ago. I learnt a few words, a greeting, thank you and the like, and found the Islanders totally taken aback that I would consider lowering myself to speaking their gutter language rather than the obviously superior Spanish. Non-speakers of Rapa Nui looked insulted, speakers took me aside and explained that there was no need to embarass myself... Post colonial attitudes are not so obvious here in Wales, but they are definitely there.

Cneifiwr - I share your frustration. I see tweets labelled #S4Cfail, destructive negative comment (can't something be "poor" rather than "gwarth" or "sarhad" - shameful, digusting, degrading etc), usually with no hint of what could be done to improve things... Rarely do I see someone with a positive "they've tried something new that didn;t work - I'd like to see..." kind of attitude.

BTW, I didn't realise it was quite that bad in the reports - I was annoyed enough that no context was given: there are plenty of reports about English language channels losing peak viewers too, and if viewership is falling across the board, S4C are likely to suffer the same. But to ignore all the good news for the one or two shreads of bad is terrible (and shameful, disgusting and degrading...)

Anonymous said...

... and another thing, almost uniquely in European (if not world) television, S4C can't broadcast the excellent American sitcoms or dramas. Rather they could, but unlike Spanish, French, Basque, Estonian, German etc it would be ridiculous for S4C to dub or subtitle excellent American (or English) programmes and films.

So, all S4C's content is home made which means that virtually all the money spent on S4C programming stays in Wales - unlike a good chunk of ITV, Channel 4 or even BBC.


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