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Tuesday, 2 July, 2002, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
S4C hits digital funds problem
S4C logo
S4C faces a difficult year ahead
Broadcaster S4C could face having to cut output on its digital channel in the wake of gloomy figures published in TV channel's annual report on Tuesday.

S4C - which is directly subsidised by the government - will have to find extra funding to continue its current output of programmes.

Sali Mali has been an S4C success story
Sali Mali has been an S4C success story

The channel is spending more than it is receiving in income for a second year in a row, together with a steady fall in its audience share.

Chief executive Huw Jones said more had to be done to appeal to a wide audience, but added he was pleased at the 700,000 weekly viewing figures.

"I think what we need is a schedule that appeals equally to all parts of Wales, but it is difficult to get a perfect balance," he said.

Its hold on the Welsh-speaking audience in north Wales has dropped from 12.5% to 11% in the past year, following a fall in the previous 12 months.

Figures in south Wales show a more alarming 4% fall in viewing figures.

Average peak hours viewing share of S4C's Welsh-language programmes by Welsh speaking viewers was 13.8% compared to 15.3% in 2000.

The broadcaster is fighting back with more programmes tailored towards a younger audience, based round the growing popularity of Welsh medium education.

Huw Jones, S4C
Huw Jones: 'Appeal to all'

Commissioning editors at S4C are looking at specifically to try to gain a loyal audience.

But the company's immediate concerns lie with deciding on its digital provision in the coming year.

Some 700,000 people watch S4C's Welsh language output once a week, but the signs of decline will not be taking lightly by S4C's Authority or the Department of Culture in London which is its principal funder.

The channel has asked for a limited 2% above inflation funding increase to compete in the digital age.

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Huw Jones, S4C
"It is difficult to get the perfect balance"
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15 May 02 | Wales
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