S4C announces digital strategy

24 July 2018

S4C has announced its digital strategy to provide opportunities for the audience to access more Welsh-language content through digital platforms.  The details below were revealed by the broadcaster on Monday 23 July at the Royal Welsh Show.

Whole series will be available online following the transmission of the first episode from September onwards. This will begin with factual series, and a ballot will take place during August to select the first series to become available to view for signed-in viewers.

The popular Hansh service will stream whole series online on the date of the first television broadcast and increase their user-generated content (UGC).

Other changes will include upgrading the player S4C Clic to create a better viewer experience. The process of personalising online services will start, so that viewers can find content that is of particular interest to them. Also, the channel will start on the path of digital promotion “push notifications” through mobile devices, as well as other conventional digital communications.

Owen Evans, Chief Executive S4C said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find Welsh content that is of interest to them on digital platforms.  It happens with a lot of English content, and having the same service for Welsh-language content is vital.”

The channel announced in April that it will be spending £1 million a year for the next three years to ensure that S4C has a digital offer that will meet the needs of Welsh speakers in the Netflix and Amazon era.

Owen Evans added: “Developments in the distribution of digital content will be key to the future the Welsh language in the media. The Independent Review and the UK Government’s response to it have accepted the need for S4C to expand its activities into the digital space and we have warmly welcomed those decisions.

“The key point for S4C is that it is vital that we ensure that Welsh-language content is available on popular digital platforms.  This, hand in hand with maintaining a strong television service, will ensure that the Welsh language is heard in the media and is a prominent part our daily lives.”

Digital activities by S4C will be coordinated by an internal digital hub, which is one of the recommendations of the independent review. S4C is in the process of appointing a number of posts within the digital hub which will be involved in the delivery of the above schemes over the next few years.

Background details

The implementation of the S4C digital strategy will promote digital services over the next few years. The ambitious plans will provide opportunities for the audience to access more Welsh-language content through the digital platforms and increase the presence of Welsh in the digital space.

The S4C digital strategy is intended to:

  • Create a strong infrastructure for our organisation and audience

This means strengthening our technology systems, ensuring that they meet the expectations of a sophisticated and diverse audience. We want to use relevant data that reflects the wishes and use of the audience, so we will adopt systems that allow much higher levels of personalisation.

  • Building a reputation as commissioner and distributor of excellent content on digital platforms

 This means ensuring that we manage to cater for a range of users in the way they choose to use content. The television service remains very important to the audience and we will continue to maintain a strong television service, but the digital strategy focuses on strengthening digital elements that will help us to further extend our reach, particularly amongst audiences in the 16-34 and 45-64 age ranges.

 S4C has already identified a number of key operational priorities for the coming years in order to meet our objectives.


Improve the online player –

  • Enhancements to S4C Clic, the channel’s online player, increasing capacity and improving the user experience;
  • Run an S4C Clic platform on a range of devices – iOS and Android,
  • The necessary infrastructure to offer ‘ box-sets ‘ of new content and archive content.


  • Use digital platforms to ensure that individual users know about content that is of interest to them.
  • S4C will establish a system that allows users to log into our digital platform, S4C Clic, so that their personal interests are registered. S4C is then able to ensure that we raise consumer awareness of relevant content in a variety of ways.
  • The intention is to use various direct communication methods (within the user’s control) to raise awareness about content of interest – available on S4C Clic, or on the television channel.
  • This will work in a similar way to how some other broadcasters have been operating for some years (see Channel 4 as a good example).

Content – to attract audiences on digital platforms, there must be content that is attractive and meets their requirements and also target audiences.  We have exciting plans to develop our proposal to include:

Hansh –

  • More digital-first content as Hansh channel is upgraded;
  • A wider range of content on the service, e.g. science and current affairs.

Box-Sets –

  • Streaming whole series online on the date of the first television broadcast;
  • New content and archive content;
  • Content dependent on securing the right rights.

Platforms for User Generated Content –

  • We are planning to increase the amount of user involvement themselves on S4C Clic, particularly by children.
  • Our intention is to use this as a showcase for entertainment, as well as a way of identifying and developing talent.

Digital Promotion –

  • Promotional notices via mobile devices, as well as other conventional digital means of communication.

A number of the above changes are already being implemented with others to follow over a period of three years. Developments over the period are being funded by S4C’s decision to earmark £1m a year over the next three years in order to promote its digital services.

The first enhancements to the S4C digital infrastructure have just been completed, meaning that a new version of S4C Clic is going live to the public from 23 July 20218 onwards. The new version includes new features that make it easier for users to share content and make comments, as well as to find relevant content more easily.

The above amendments are part of a vision to appeal to the Netflix generation of viewers.  We will release details of improvements in line with our strategy as they are confirmed in the coming months.

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