S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru - Channel Four Wales) started broadcasting at 18:00 on Monday 1 November 1982. To begin with, 22 hours of Welsh language programmes were broadcast every week, alongside English programmes from the Channel 4 service. Today, S4C is a wholly Welsh language channel broadcasting over 115 hours of programmes each week. It commissions independent producers from across Wales to make the majority of its programmes. ITV Cymru Wales is also commissioned to produce programmes. BBC Cymru Wales provides around 10 hours of programming per week for S4C, including the news and daily soap Pobol y Cwm, funded out of the licence fee. S4C's main offices are in Llanishen, Cardiff; there is also an S4C office in Caernarfon, Gwynedd.
Before 1982, a limited number of Welsh language programmes were broadcast on BBC 1 and ITV. During the 1970s, the UK government decided a fourth television channel would be established alongside BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV. This proposed fourth channel was seen by many as an opportunity for a new beginning in public service broadcasting in Wales. Following intensive campaigning, S4C was established by the 1980/1981 Broadcasting Acts.
S4C's primary source of funding is the UK government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). S4C also has some powers to generate its own commercial income, for example, through advertising sales. In 2010, DCMS announced major changes to the way S4C is to be funded. Discussions regarding these changes are ongoing between S4C, the BBC and DCMS.
The S4C Authority is an independent broadcasting authority, responsible for S4C's strategic policy. The Authority's Chair and members are appointed by the UK government's Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, following an open application process.
S4C broadcasts a variety of programmes such as sport, drama, music, factual, news, entertainment and events, across a range of platforms, including online. S4C offers comprehensive services for children: Cyw for younger viewers, Stwnsh for older children and programmes for teenagers.
In Wales, S4C is available on Freeview 4, Sky 104, Virgin TV 166 and Freesat 104. In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, S4C is available on Sky 134, Freesat 120 and Virgin TV 166.
S4C broadcasts simultaneously a High Definition television channel, S4C Clirlun, which is available on Freeview HD 105 in Wales. S4C broadcasts simultaneously at s4c.co.uk throughout the UK. Selected programmes are available to watch worldwide. Programme information is also available on the website.
S4C offers an online, on-demand catch-up service called Clic. Most programmes are available to view on s4c.co.uk/clic for 35 days after the original television broadcast. Selected programmes are available to watch worldwide.
For more details, please contact S4C's information service, the Viewers' Hotline.