Head of S4C confirms he’s leaving the channel
The Chief Executive of S4C has confirmed that he’s leaving the channel.
Owen Evans is leaving the Welsh language broadcaster to head up the school inspections body, Estyn.
He said he would carry on in his current post until the end of the year in order to secure a good funding settlement for the channel.
His appointment as the new HM Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales was announced today by the First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Because of the way the UK constitution operates Drakeford had to wait for the appointment to be signed off by the Queen.
Evans is set to take up the post in January 2022, and will replace the current Chief Inspector Meilyr Rowlands, who retires at the end of August.
Claire Morgan, Estyn’s strategic director will act as the interim Chief Inspector until January.
In an interview with the BBC’s Newyddion programme on S4C, Owen Evans said: “I’ll be leaving S4C. Firstly I’m confident that the fact I’m leaving isn’t going to effect the settlement. But the discussion that I had with the DCMS, they were very keen for me to stay to see that settlement be completed and I’ve given that promise.
“Any chief executive leaving destabilises things, but like you’re seeing in the annual report, we’ve been building this since the last four years.
“Digital is booming, the marketing fund is booming, we’ve moved to the headquarters and we’re also working from the central square.
“The last part of the jigsaw is ensuring a fair settlement for S4C over the next years therefore if I have that I’m confident I can hand over to my successor something that is stable and something that can look forward to the future.”
The First Minister said: “I offer my congratulations to Owen Evans on his appointment and my sincere thanks to Meilyr Rowlands for his hard work and diligence during his term in office.
“Meilyr has been a critical friend to the government and has systematically helped drive up the standards of schools in Wales through a rigorous inspection process. I wish him well for the future.”
Education Minister Jeremy Miles said: “I’d like to thank Meilyr Rowlands for his work as Chief Inspector.
“His contribution to Welsh education is one of the reasons why this is such an exciting time for Owen Evans to take up this role. I congratulate him on his appointment and look forward to working with him in the future.”
It was revealed yesterday that S4C’s viewing figures have grown across all platforms during the pandemic – despite losing £8m of programming.
The Welsh language broadcaster revealed the news in its Annual Report for the year 2020/21, when much of its timetable was lost because sporting and cultural events were cancelled and production on dramas coming to a halt.
The number of viewing hours on the channel’s digital Clic’ platform increased by 45%, while on BBC iPlayer they increased 25%. Clic also attracted 200,000 subscribers.
In addition the average peak time viewing figures in Wales went from 17,500 to 18,500 (6%).
S4C’s weekly reach increased from 306k to 321k (5%), while the weekly reach outside of Wales from 396k to 502k (27%). This means S4C viewing hours throughout the UK have risen to their highest level in seven years.
Viewing hours on S4C’s main Facebook page has risen 72% year on year, with viewing hours on the main Twitter account rising by 87%.
There were 28.5 million viewing sessions across S4C’s Facebook pages during the year. S4C content was viewed 458,000 times a day on average during the year across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Hansh, the comedy platform for young people, had more than 1.4 million viewing sessions in March 2020, which is a record. Viewing hours across S4C’s YouTube channels were up 48% during the year.
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