Memorandum submitted by S4C
THE ROLE OF THE UK GOVERNMENT IN PROMOTING
International links make an important contribution
towards the cultural and commercial aims and achievements of S4C.
S4C believes that it benefits from the wider efforts to promote
Wales abroad. Through its programmes, it also believes that it
has an important contribution to make to these efforts. S4C, therefore,
takes a close interest in initiatives aimed at improving the promotion
of Wales overseas. S4C welcomes this inquiry by the Select Committee.
The Broadcasting Act 1996 extended S4C's freedom
to participate in and initiate commercial ventures in fields related
to television. As laid down by the Act, S4C has established separate
public and general funds so as to provide a clear distinction
between public funds and those derived from commercial activities.
Commercial ventures are not subsidised by public funds, but the
proceeds of commercial activities can be transferred, through
the general fund, for the purpose of enhancing S4C's public service.
In 1999, commercial activities delivered an operating profit of
5.9 million out of which 3.1 million was transferred to the public
service fund. S4C's commercial activities are pursued by a wholly
owned subsidiary company, S4C Masnachol Cyf.
International programme sales are an important
element of S4C's commercial activities. These are pursued by S4C
Masnachol's sales arm, S4C Rhyngwladol. S4C Rhyngwladol attends
a range of international programme fairs with a view to promoting
these sales. These include MIP in Cannes in April, MIP Com in
Cannes in October, and the NATPE event in the United States during
January. These are major international events. They attract large
numbers of organisations and individuals involved in the purchase
and sale of television programmes. S4C has achieved considerable
success at these fairs. During 1999, S4C Rhyngwladol achieved
196 international programme sales compared to 103 in 1998. A list
of the countries that have purchased some of S4C's most successful
international exports is attached at Annex A. S4C incurs significant
costs in attending such events. S4C would be interested in any
wider UK initiative aimed at promoting UK derived programmes at
these and other events overseas so long as this did not interfere
with S4C's commercial freedom to generate maximum benefit from
S4C is also involved in a wide range of international
co-productions. International co-production partners are sought
actively so as to expand production budgets, improve production
values and to ensure that producers in Wales can work to the highest
international standards. Some 35 co-productions were arranged
in 1999. The international programme fairs (MIP, etc) provide
excellent opportunities to develop and extend these partnership
S4C PROMOTING WALES
As well as being commercially beneficial, S4C
believes that its international programme sales and co-productions
provide an important boost to the image of Wales overseas. All
sorts of programmes can have an impact but S4C believes that Wales
derives particular benefits from high profile successes such as
the Oscar nominated feature films Hedd Wyn and Solomon
and Gaenor. There is also a growing appreciation of Wales'
animation industry following a succession of critically acclaimed
and widely distributed international animation series. The Canterbury
Tales, Shakespeare-The Animated Tales and The Miracle Maker
have all been initiated in Wales and heavily dependent on animation
and technical expertise located in Wales. S4C's latest animation
co-production, involving partners in 26 countries altogether is
thought to be a record.
S4C will continue to engage in a range of international
activities aimed at generating income to support its key public
service broadcasting aims. S4C would be pleased to be part of
any wider initiative for promoting Wales overseas which served
to further these aims.
18 October 2000