Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Nid aur yw popeth melyn

BBC DG Lord Hall is on his way to Scotland to brief staff on investment plans for the next financial year. His case may contain a smoke canister and a mirror or two.

Yesterday we got a press release about investment for BBC Wales, headlined thus: "BBC to increase investment in programming for Wales by 50 per cent". Last year the BBC spent £22.5m on English language programmes made specifically for Wales. The release promises "£8.5m additional new funding" for English language tv - that's an increase of just over 37%.  But wait, there's a hope that BBC Wales can bring in an additional £5m of co-production funding - that gets us to 60%.  And then, pause again - there's a target of getting half of the new productions from Wales, set to total 130 hours a year, onto the full UK Network or iPlayer - so presumably, someone else elsewhere in the BBC will lose that funding. Putting the £8.5m in context, BBC Wales productions costing a total of £61.7m last year (think Dr Who, Casualty, etc) made it to network last year. Perhaps the BBC Press team can help us hit the 50% calculation of their headline.

And whilst increases are more than useful, hacks might like ask about the other Welsh budget lines. Last year, the BBC spend £20.3m on Welsh TV content for S4C; £40.7m on Radio Wales and Radio Cymru; £1.4m on orchestral performances for Radio 3; and £1.9m on contributions for national radio networks. Are they unchanged ? In May, Director of Wales Rhodri Talfan Davies said he expected to make 2% savings a year, every year to 2022.

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