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BBC commits to S4C funding

UK pubcaster the BBC has agreed to fix its level of funding of Welsh counterpart S4C until 2022.

Rona FairheadA letter sent this week by BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead to S4C Authority chairman Huw Jones confirms the BBC will provide S4C with £74.5 million (US$99.5 million) each year until the current licence fee agreement ends.

The existing agreement with S4C was due to end in 2017, though the BBC Trust, which currently governs the BBC, had previous agreed an extension until 2018 in order to provide stability to the under-threat Welsh pubcaster.

“I see this as the right thing to do in recognition of the important role played by S4C for Welsh speaking licence fee payers in particular and as a solid basis on which the S4C Authority and the new BBC Board can work together and maintain the very positive relationshipwhich the BBC Trust has enjoyed with you and your colleagues,” wrote Fairhead in the letter.

The BBC said the funding level was “some way above the average projected ‘read across’, which was agreed by the BBC with the [UK] Chancellor and Secretary of State as part of the licence fee agreement in July 2015”.

The UK Conservative government earlier this year announced a “comprehensive review” of S4C’s remit, governance and funding, news that followed the revelation government investment in the service would be reduced from £6.7 million to £5 million by 2020.

The BBC’s Welsh arm, BBC Cymru, is also bound to provide S4C with 10 hours of programming per week.

In June, S4C hired the founder of factual indie TiFiNi, Amanda Rees, as its new director of content.