There has been a sense of crisis pervading broadcasting services for Wales for some years: the decline of ITV services, budget cuts at the BBC, funding and governance crises at S4C. Throughout there has been an awareness of a lack of Welsh leverage over policy. Only the steady supply of high profile programmes to the UK networks has lifted spirits.
What will change in the next decade? With new leaders at BBC Wales and S4C, a new Creative Industries Board for Wales in place, ITV seeing some revival, and a UK Government forcing more BBC-S4C collaboration and vigorously promoting local television, what new agendas are being set for the coming decade?
Wales needs to answer many questions. What kind of services do the people of Wales need or deserve, on television, radio and online, in English and Welsh? Will they get them? What will be the balance between traditional broadcast channels and online delivery? What are the implications of the new arrangements between the BBC and S4C? How should ITV’s licenses be renewed after 2014? What will be the shape our broadcast services in ten years? Are the days of broadcasting regulation drawing to a close?
What will a new Communications Bill offer? What might Wales want to see in it? How should the policy community in Wales organise itself to increase its influence in this fast changing sector? What kind of levers over media policy should the Welsh Government seek?
This timely IWA conference will fall just after the BBC Trust launches its public consultation on a further round of cuts. The conference will not only examine what is proposed but also, as technological change accelerates in the media world, look well beyond the short term.
A selection of addresses given at the conference can be found in the ClickonWales.org Lecture Library. Follow the links to jump to Guy Phillips', Editor of ITV Regional News; Ron Jones, Executive Chairman of Tinopolis; and Wil Stephens, CEO and Founder of Cube Interactive.