S4C Appoints Eight To Give It Online Ideas

Welsh-language broadcaster S4C, which doesn’t employ anyone at executive level with sole online responsibility, is now tapping eight people to advise it informally.

The company is forming a “new media forum” of outsiders, including social media consultants, developers and project managers, “to offer ideas to the channel as it develops its new media strategy” (announcement).

Each will be paid £1,000 a year. S4C is facing financial pressure after its funding source was switched from UK government to the BBC.

S4C’s online strategy has been regarded as lagging in recent years, though it operates a web-based TV catch-up service called Clic and several sites related to TV shows. The way it works, web output is planned by its marketing team and websites emerge from its TV commissioning process in something approaching a 360 fashion, the broadcaster says.

In September, paidContent:UK reported S4C was sitting on £26.3 million of a £33 million fund that had been intended for external commercial digital investments. A month later, it told UK government it would now turn that money in to an internal digital production and commissioning fund, “to make significant new investment in new media and multi-platform programming” with the aim of becoming “a more active innovator in new media”.

S4C tells paidContent:UK the new forum will not have direct policy responsibility. But the forum, whose combined recompense will be just £8,000, will certainly have a degree of influence over how those millions will be spent. It will be chaired by Dyfrig Jones, a member of the broadcaster’s governing S4C Authority.

“What S4C needs is action by appointment of a senior management position, not a talking shop led by a non-executive governor,” Wil Stephens, CEO of Cardiff independent interactive producer Cube tells paidContent:UK.

Clic claimed 781,000 viewing sessions in the first half of 2010.