1. ITV Report

Assembly committee says broadcasters should do more to reflect life in Wales

A major report into broadcasting in Wales by a National Assembly committee says broadcasters should do more to reflect life in Wales in their programming.

Credit: ITV Wales

The report calls on the BBC to spend an extra £30million on English language drama and broadcasting in Wales.

It also concluded there should be a Wales opt-out for news on Radio 1 and Radio 2 to, "better reflect what is going on in Welsh society."

A spokesperson for the BBC said it had, "committed to spending more on English-language programming in Wales and will set out the proposals in due course."

We’ve said that improving how we portray and represent the different nations of the UK – including Wales – on our UK-wide services is a priority for the new Charter period.

As part of this we’ve committed to spending more on English-language television programming in Wales and will set out the proposals in due course.

– BBC Spokesperson

Elsewhere, the report recommended that funding for S4C should not be cut until the results of a planned review are known and considered.

While the Committee also noted the "extremely high level of repeats", estimated at 57-percent was a "major concern".

Credit: ITV Wales

"We welcome the report's findings, and to see the Committee's recommendation that there should be no more cuts to S4C's funding until the UK Government's review has been completed, and thorough consideration is given to its findings.

We're also pleased to see recognition by the Committee that S4C should be given greater prominence on Electronic Guides in Wales, and that the Ofcom Code should be amended to reflect this.

We now look forward to the UK Government's announcement about the arrangements for the S4C review.

– Huw Jones, S4C Authority Chairman

Members noted the success by ITV Cymru Wales in securing commissions for network programmes, but called for a, "more proactive attitude" in order to, "showcase our Welsh communities throughout the UK."

ITV Cymru Wales' Head of News & Programmes Phil Henfrey said, "having an informed democracy is vitally import and we are proud of the contribution the ITV News and Programmes teams make in Wales on daily basis. All of which is free to the viewer and at no cost to the taxpayer."

Credit: ITV Wales

We are disappointed that the committee appears to place such a low value on the significant volume of commercially funded high quality news and current affairs programming that ITV makes in Wales.

The committee’s report appears to not only fail to recognise the significant achievements made by the ITV Wales team over the past eight years - it also ignores the importance of the investments that ITV has made in recent years, particularly in Welsh independent production through its acquisition of Boom Cymru.

There is also no recognition of the contribution ITV makes in Welsh language current affairs through the programming we make for S4C.

We will, of course, continue to engage constructively with the important work of the committee.

We share their ambition to do the very best for audiences in Wales whilst, at the same time, delivering a commercial return. Our co-broadcasting of the Six Nations Championship is a good example of this.

We also share the committee’s ambition for ITV Wales to compete with production companies across the UK for network production. In 2015 we created a network production label Shiver Cymru to do just that and with notable success in 2016. Moreover, our commissioners at the network centre will continue to actively engage with independent producers in Wales - as they do with independent production companies across the UK - to develop any ideas that they might have to compete for network commissions.

– Phil Henfrey, Head of News & Programmes ITV Cymru Wales

Key milestones since Ofcom awarded new stand alone licence for Wales in 2014:

  • 2014 Opening of new state-of-the-art HD broadcast centre in Cardiff Bay
  • 2015 Launch of new ITV Cymru Wales HD channel
  • 2015 ITV acquires Welsh independent production company Boom Cymru
  • 2016 Co-broadcasting of Six Nations Rugby Championship begins on ITV
  • 2016 Launch of new network production label Shiver Cymru securing first network commission, The Aberfan Young Wives’ Club
  • 2016 Commission of new returning series Y Detectif along with long-running series Y Byd Ar Bedwar, Hacio and Cefn Gwlad for S4C

Bethan Jenkins AM, the chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communication Committee, said the report is a "snapshot of the broadcasting industry as it stands in Wales" and that it would "form the basis for more detailed inquiries in the future."

Watch Adrian Master's report: