Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Thursday, 11 March 2010

'Zero viewers' for Welsh TV shows

S4C logo
S4C launched in 1982

Almost 200 shows broadcast on Welsh TV channel S4C last month attracted zero viewers, according to a report.

The Western Mail claimed leaked figures showed 196 out of 890 programmes in a three week period had less than 1,000 viewers - an official zero.

S4C chairman, John Walter Jones, said it was important to consider the wider contribution of the channel to Wales.

The Welsh-language broadcaster is funded by a grant of more than £100m a year from the UK government.

Most of the programmes with a zero viewer rating were children's shows, the newspaper added.

The channel broadcasts children's shows such as cartoons Sali Mali and Igam Ogam, voiced by actor Ioan Gruffudd.

Target audience

But Mr Walter Jones said children aged under four were not counted in the official figures compiled the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (Barb).

He said: "The majority of programmes referred to are pre-school children's programmes.

"Barb, the body that measures viewing figures cannot take account of children under the age of four - the target audience for these programmes. So the viewing of these programmes cannot be measured accurately."

He added: "The contribution S4C makes to the Welsh language, Welsh culture and the Welsh economy has to be considered on a much broader basis than individual statistical information which can be misleading and misconstrued."

Mr Walter Jones also said more people were tuning in to Welsh language programmes on S4C this year than during the same period of 2009.

Barb declined to comment.

S4C, launched in 1982 and is based in Cardiff. It broadcasts more than 80 hours of Welsh language programmes on a variety of platforms, including television and broadband.

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