Thursday, March 11, 2010

S4C: It's all Welsh to me...

I decided some time ago that I was not going to link to any article printed in the Daily Mail, because I had grown to dislike their brand of sensationalist, rabble rousing and ultimately irresponsible journalism.

So it is with that caveat that I link to this story from today's paper, albeit supported by this one in the much more reliable Daily Telegraph.

Why on earth is the taxpayer, 84% of whom are English, remember, subsidising a Welsh language television channel to the tune of £100,000,000 a year, which is all but ignored in Wales itself?

And on any reading of the viewing figures, it is largely ignored; because as much as 22% of its output (196 out of 890 programmes, or nearly a quarter of it) receives so few viewers that they are officially zero rated. More than that, though, only 16% of its programmes receive over ten thousand viewers (139 out of 890), meaning that the remaining 62% of its output is watched by between 1,001 and 9,999 people; or to put it another way, the population of one small village.

What justification can there be for continuing to subsidise this utter failure to the tune of £100m per year?

The channel should either be closed, or required to find its funding through advertising or subscription; the English taxpayer should not be forced to subsidise an unwanted failure for the benefit of a tiny minority of Welsh-speakers any longer, threatened hunger strikes, or no threatened hunger strikes.


Hosko said...

I hadn't realised such a heady cost is borne by the English taxpayer for such a service!
The problem in Wales is the culture for learning Welsh. It's a shame really, all the young people I know in North Wales agree that Welsh was considered uncool in school, which should be a cultural target for communities to make kids realise they can learn a rare language early but also have secret conversations over their peers, (if that's what it takes to bring it into the 'cool' sphere), it really is a shame to see the language die.
Though not if it is another tax burden for those who don't benefit from the resources to learn it, ergo, the English tax payer, very interesting article!

This Royal Throne of Kings said...

I agree Hosko; it would be sad to see the language die, but it should be up to the Welsh themselves to ensure that it doesn't, not the English taxpayer with a nine figure subsidy.

And to reinforce the point I make in my post, particularly not to a television channel which is clearly failing to inspire pride, or more than a risible degree of interest in it.