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Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

10/10/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Bethan Sayed AM
David Melding AM
Delyth Jewell AM
John Griffiths AM
Mick Antoniw AM
Rhianon Passmore AM Yn dirprwyo ar ran Carwyn Jones
Substitute for Carwyn Jones

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Lowri Jones Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Osian Bowyer Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Robert Donovan Clerc
Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 10:04.

The meeting began at 10:04.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Diolch, a chroeso i'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu y bore yma, ac eitem 1: cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau. Dŷn ni wedi cael ymddiheuriadau heddiw gan Carwyn Jones, ac mae Rhianon Passmore, dwi ar ddeall, yn mynd i ddod yn ei le fe. Os nad oes gan unrhyw un rywbeth i'w ddatgan yma heddiw, byddaf yn parhau gyda'r agenda.

Thank you, and welcome to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee this morning, and item 1: introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest. We have received apologies today from Carwyn Jones, and Rhianon Passmore, as I understand it, will be attending as a substitute for him. If there are no declarations of interest today, we will move on to the next item on the agenda.

2. Gwaith craffu blynyddol ar ITV Cymru
2. Annual Scrutiny of ITV Cymru Wales

Dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen, felly, at eitem 2, a'r gwaith craffu blynyddol ar ITV Cymru. Dŷn ni'n croesawu yma heddiw eto Phil Henfrey, pennaeth newyddion a rhaglenni ITV Cymru Wales; Jonathan Hill, sef golygydd, rhaglenni'r rhwydwaith; Zoe Thomas, golygydd, rhaglenni Saesneg; a Branwen Thomas, golygydd dros dro, rhaglenni Cymraeg.

Dŷn ni fel arfer yn gofyn cwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol, felly os mae'n iawn gyda chi, awn ni'n syth i hynny. Ond hefyd, does dim angen i bawb ateb pob cwestiwn. Dwi'n sylweddoli bod y panel yn un weddol swmpus yma heddiw—nid o ran maint eich cyrff, ond faint o bobl sydd yn eistedd yma o’n blaenau ni heddiw.[Chwerthin.] Rhag bod unrhyw un yn meddwl fy mod i’n dweud rhywbeth anghywir yma’r bore yma. Felly, diolch i chi am ddod i mewn atom.

Jest i gychwyn yn glou gen i o ran y drwydded: ydych chi’n credu bod gwerth y drwydded wedi newid ers i chi ddod i mewn yma’r tro diwethaf? Ydych chi’n credu’ch bod chi’n gallu rhoi esboniad i ni o werth y drwydded? Rhywun?

We do move on, therefore, to item 2, and the annual scrutiny of ITV Cymru Wales. We welcome here today, once again, Phil Henfrey, head of news and programmes for ITV Cymru Wales; Jonathan Hill, editor, network programmes; Zoe Thomas, editor, English language programmes; and Branwen Thomas, acting editor for Welsh language programmes.

As is customary, we have themed questions, so if it's okay with you, we'll go straight to those questions. But also, not all of you need to answer every question. I know that it's quite a substantial panel—not in terms of your physical size, of course, but in terms of the number of people we have in front of us today.[Laughter.] Just in case anyone thought I was being offensive there. So, thank you to you for joining us this morning.

I’ll just start with a quick question from me in terms of the licence. Do you believe that the value of the licence has changed since the last time you were here? Could you give us an explanation of the value of the licence? Anyone?

10:05

I’ll take that, if that’s okay. Thank you very much for the opportunity to talk about ITV, and I hope that there will be questions for my colleagues across the session. There are lots of positive things to talk about at ITV Wales.

I think the first thing to talk about when it comes to the licence is that we are absolutely committed to maintaining our spend on public service programmes in Wales. It’s something that we have done for a number of years now. But in specific answer to your question, ‘Is the value of the licence changing?’, the answer is ‘yes’, and that value is going down. Now, that might appear to fly in the face of some of the positive stories that we are telling in our briefing note. We are also, at the same time, talking about strong viewing to ITV Wales, we are talking about strong programme sales, we are talking about growing online viewership for trusted news and current affairs. But you would expect that to happen. We are working in a changing environment, we are adapting, we are investing in other things.

But the television channel itself is facing headwinds, and those headwinds are significant. Television advertising revenues are down and total viewing to the television channel is also down, particularly for younger audiences who are migrating online. Put simply, our programmes are performing really well in the schedule, but the globalisation of the television landscape, the increasing competition from the global players, together with the rapid take-up of broadband-connected services, means that, whilst our programmes are performing really well, our ability to make money in that television environment is getting harder and harder.

I would add to that that that’s got significant implications for the future of commercial public service broadcasting. As I say, we are absolutely committed to maintaining our spend on public service programmes, but we agree with Ofcom that radical reform is needed in this area, and it’s something that we look forward to engaging with you, as a committee, about how that can be done so that the public value generated by commercial PSB is maintained into the future.

Felly, pan oeddech chi wedi dod yma yn 2016, yn amlwg roeddech chi wedi dweud pethau eithaf tebyg o ran y ffaith bod yna ostyngiad yn y gwerth, ac roeddech chi’n dweud bod Ofcom yn gallu gosod llai o rwymedigaethau gwasanaeth cyhoeddus ar ddeiliaid y drwydded oherwydd hynny. Ydych chi’n poeni am hyn oherwydd y ffaith, tro ar ôl tro, fod gwerth y drwydded yn lleihau, boed y gwaith da dŷch chi’n ei wneud?

So, when you came here in 2016, clearly you said similar things in terms of the fact that there was a decrease in the value of the licence, and you said that Ofcom can place fewer obligations with regard to public service on licence holders as a result of that. Are you concerned about that, because, time and time again, the licence value is decreasing, despite the good work that you’re doing?

I think that’s a really fair point to make. The direction of travel, as I say, despite the work that we are doing, is going in one direction, and I think that what we are saying—and I think, increasingly, Ofcom too are saying—is that there is going to need to be some radical reform and some radical change.

By coincidence, I had a meeting with Ofcom officials just this week, and they are very pleased with what we’re achieving in Wales; they are very pleased with the performance of our programmes, particularly our 6 o’clock news programme and particularly the current affairs programmes we make. Like everybody on this committee, they recognise the value of having commercially funded PSB. Commercially funded PSB in a Welsh context, in a weak news market, provides the only alternative to the BBC. It continues to attract mass audiences for Welsh news that would not otherwise get that. So, they recognise absolutely, as you do, the public value contribution that commercial PSB makes. It does that with no drain on the public resources.

But the world around us is changing, and the life force for public service broadcasting in the current system is the television channel, is the advertising that we put around television programmes. And, as I say, because of the increasing competition from the global media players, because of the rapid take-up of broadband, our ability to make money from the television channel is only going to get harder, and that does, in time, threaten the future of PSB. Now, I'm sitting here saying there is still time to act, but action is needed. We are committed to the PSB spend, we are committed to maintaining the public value that our programmes produce, but that cannot carry on indefinitely without further reform.

10:10

Ocê. Dŷn ni'n mynd i symud ymlaen oherwydd diffyg amser, ond efallai y gallech chi ysgrifennu atom ni am rai o'r syniadau sydd gennych chi ar gyfer y newid radical dŷch chi'n sôn amdano. Byddai hynny'n ein helpu ni. Symudwn ymlaen at David Melding.

Okay. We are going to move on because of a lack of time, but perhaps you could write to us about some of the ideas that you have about the radical change that you're talking about. That would be of great assistance to us. We're moving on now to David Melding.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. I'd like to look at content for viewers in Wales. If we look at the latest figures—2018—there's been a slight increase in the number of hours—343 from 329 the year before—and that increase is in news, and also in non-news and non-current affairs. Is this trendless fluctuation or is it more systematic and reflecting your strategy?

I think it's very much a fluctuation. The schedule in which we operate can change from year to year. Simple things such as having an election, not having an election, means there's more time for news minutes from one year to another. So, I think those figures probably reflect that. Again, I probably come back—and I'll bring my colleague Zoe in in a minute to talk about the actual programmes themselves, but the broader picture, as I've just described, is that when Ofcom has looked at this, the volume of programmes that we make, they see that as a fair return for the benefits we have within the licence. And those benefits, as you know, are to do with the electronic programme guide and to do with access to the spectrum. They've looked at this repeatedly, and said that this is a fair return.

To make more programming, by its very nature, would require more funding, and, as I've just described, there's no more value to be extracted out of the licence, and we do not see, within the television environment, more funding being available to make more programming in Wales. Now, I completely understand why more programming for Wales is a good thing, but what is the funding source that sits behind that in order to make that happen? That's the bit that I don't see in the equation that says, 'Could we have more? Absolutely, if the funding was there.' But the funding is not there. Zoe, I don't know if you want to add anything in terms of the contribution the programmes are, in fact, making.

I think, as Phil said, actually, certainly in non-news programmes and current affairs, what we aim to do and what we have done is delivered our licence requirements every year, which are about 78 hours, and that is, as you, I'm sure, are all aware, a mixture of current affairs and other shows as well, and we try and mix that up. We try and bring in new shows and bring in valuable new things for the Wales audiences all the time.

We're particularly proud this year of a series we've recently done called Lest We Forget, which followed a veteran of world war two and two children back to the war areas that he'd been to in France and the Netherlands, and that's done really well, both in share of viewing, but also online. That's really taken off, and it's currently working its way around America, I think, in terms of the popularity that it seems to be gaining. And a new series that began with the introduction of a new presenter, Adeola Dewis, to our presenter line-up in 2018, Dock of the Bay. She is now fronting a series called Welsh Lives, which looks at people you may not have heard of or may not be famous but have actually really contributed something, or overcome remarkable things, and who we felt deserved a greater outing and a telling of their stories. So, we're really proud of those. She's, in fact, been nominated in the presenter category for the BAFTA Cymru awards this weekend. So, we're really proud of the things that we are doing and bringing into that mix within that core Ofcom requirement.

If we look at the actual spend, in terms of ITV Cymru Wales, on local programming, it's gone up a bit, from £6.2 million to £6.3 million—a 2 per cent increase. Is that trendless again, or is there something behind that? I know it's a completely different model, but the BBC are obviously trying to increase their local content, and have increased it by around 16 per cent in 2018 from what it was in 2009. So, are you trying to do anything similar, or is the BBC aspiration just not one that's realistic in your commercial environment?

10:15

I think you made the point in your question, really—the BBC is publicly funded, and it's a very different model to the one that we have. In commercial public service broadcasting, we have to earn it before we can spend it. I go back to the earlier point I was making that whilst, absolutely, I would completely agree with everybody in this room that more programming for audiences in Wales is a good thing, my question is: how is that going to be funded? There is no extra value in the licence, and those programmes themselves would not be commercially sustainable.

Now, let me try to explain why that is. At the moment, for example, we've got exclusive rights in the English language to the Rugby World Cup. That game, Wales versus Australia, had something like an 84 per cent share in Wales, which is quite a remarkable figure, if you think of some of the change that's happening. But that programme also attracted several million viewers right across the UK, and so that makes it commercially sustainable. When you're talking about programmes specifically for Welsh audiences, the ability to make money around those programmes is much, much harder, just simply because of the economics in which we're operating. So, what we don't have is some magic money tree to say, 'Right, okay, let's redistribute that money from there and make more loss-making programming.' That financing is not there. I completely support the argument for more programming, but it's got to be backed by, 'And this is where the funding is going to come from.' And we do not have, as I say, access to public funding that would enable that to happen.

And then finally from me, it's just where you are in terms of, if you compare the BBC iPlayer enabling a search for Welsh content—does Hub have a similar feature now?

Well, you can simply find all ITV Wales programmes online—you simply type in 'ITV Wales programme' into your recognised search bar and they will pop up. You cannot do that via the ITV Hub, and that is a frustration for us at ITV Wales.

We tried to do it, just in case we were getting it wrong, but we couldn't do it. 

No, it is not something that you're doing wrong. As I said, if you search online, you will find those programmes. I've already talked about some of the investment that we're making in terms of programme sales, and we are going to be investing in the Hub. We absolutely want to improve the experience of the ITV Hub for viewers. That is where audiences are going, and we will be investing in the Hub to make that a better experience, not just for our viewers but also for advertisers. So, I would hope that, in the next 12 to 18 months, that experience will be better, that you will be able to more easily access all of the Welsh content and, hopefully, some of the archive content as well. And I hope to really utilise the additional functionality that you can get online that you cannot get through the television schedules. So I would hope, with investment, that we'll see an enhanced experience online.

The Hub is only one part of our digital aspirations. We're not standing still in this landscape. I don't want to sit here and give the impression that we're at the mercy of events and there's nothing we can do; we are working really hard to maximise the opportunities that exist in the digital space. You'll have heard about the partnership that we are forming with the BBC in terms of BritBox, to give us that direct-to-consumer relationship, to create the home of all British content and, indeed, Welsh content. The Hub itself has got a subscriber proposition, where people can pay to have access to the Hub without the adverts. So, we are making strides in that space, and in a Welsh context as well. We've got a strategy within ITV Cymru Wales to reach more audiences online, and we're having huge success with that. I think the figure that we quoted in the briefing paper is something like 40 million video views, and that's for trusted news and current affairs content. That's not cats up trees, that's substantial journalism, substantial national news stories about Wales getting 40 million views, which is absolutely terrific. Now, that's great in terms of reach, and from a journalistic perspective I think that's absolutely fantastic. Making money to sustain that journalism in that space, though, as you all know, is much, much harder.

Ocê, diolch am hynny. Dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen yn awr at gynnwys rhwydwaith, ac mae Delyth Jewell yn mynd i arwain. 

Okay, thank you for that. We'll move on now to network content, and Delyth has questions.

10:20

Diolch. Hi, good morning. I'll pick up on something that David had touched on earlier. Looking at how you commission network content, you've spoken in the past about how you do that on the basis of a meritocracy. Do you still think that that's the best way of doing that? I'm thinking particularly of the fact that you have the smallest proportion of network production in Wales of all the PSBs in terms of hours and spend.

Well, there is an awful lot of activity going on. This is something that Jon leads on for us, and Jon can give you some details about what is going on in this area. 

Yes. I think there is a real success story going on at ITV Cymru Wales and also in Wales in terms of network commissioning, perhaps sometimes overlooked and sometimes overshadowed because of a very big and powerful BBC. But, from a starting point of zero five years ago, where there was no network production, it has been Phil and the senior team's ambition to really grow that. Like all these things, if you take a snapshot of a particular year—these things have a long lead in, and there's an ebb and flow. If you look at the overall picture, perhaps, over the last five years and what's coming down the pipeline, I think it would probably give the committee a better flavour of what's going on. 

So, in the last five years, there have been 15 series and programmes from ITV Cymru Wales that have made it on to the ITV network, so that's stuff that's already been broadcast, stuff that's currently in production, and programmes coming down the line. So, there is a lot of activity going on and it's growing as our reputation for high quality and good ideas comes along. 

The meritocracy question comes along—not a phrase I like. Would my job be easier if I had a quote to just meet and tick? Yes. I have a harder job because I have to get the best ideas over the line to my colleagues in London, but I'm happy to do that because I believe we're producing high-quality programming in Wales. 

Could I—? Thank you for that. On that point, is it still the case that the network commissioners are all based in London? 

The main network team is based in London, but they come to Cardiff. I can pick up a phone—very good relationship, personal relationship, and a corporate relationship, with ITV Cymru Wales. Like all these things, they start small and people can see the quality of what you're doing, and then suddenly they want to buy into that. So, the success we had with The Aberfan Young Wives' Club, which won the Royal Television Society best history programme—a long time since ITV has perhaps won a history programme award, but we were massively proud of that on a UK stage, and that really kicked things off for us. 

So, currently in production we've got The Wonders of the Coast Path, showing off our wonderful coastal path, which is going to be a network show next year. We've got A Year in the Brecon Beacons, which is a network show which will be on in 2021. Last year, we had a show called Code Blue, which is probably the opposite end of the coastal path; it was a very gritty hour-long or two hour-long episodes on ITV at nine o'clock, looking at the work of South Wales Police involved in a domestic violence case, and that's been recommissioned. So, we're doing a whole range of programmes from very gritty, reflecting Welsh life, to the more celebratory stuff. It's getting big audiences—The Harbour, which was on in 2017, made it into the top 10 most-watched programmes anywhere in the UK that day, which was a delight for us. It's programming produced in Wales that we believe has a bigger life on the ITV network.     

Just to pick up on that as well, Jon's being incredibly modest here. Picking up on that question about are all network commissioners based in London, well, actually, what Jon is doing is co-commissioning with the network. So, essentially, you're talking to one of the network commissioners. A lot of the programmes that you're going to see currently in production that are going to be either on the air later this year or next year, Jon himself will have commissioned, either directly for the ITV Wales schedule, or commissioned with the network for a network commissioner. So, Jon is playing a key role in bringing ideas into ITV from the Welsh independent sector, because, when we talk about network production as well, it's not just that we've got ambitions to do more network productions ourselves as ITV or, indeed, as the Boom Cymru group of companies, but also for the wider independent sector, and we're seeing evidence of that. 

When I think about why this is happening, it's not happening by coincidence; it's happening because we are putting in concrete steps to either increase engagement between the network commissioners and the wider independent sector, and that is leading to—. And I think we announced a couple of weeks ago that we're commissioning Bad Wolf for a series. We know that there's going to be another drama being made in Wales later this year. All of these things are as a direct result of network commissioners being more aware of the sector in Wales, and, indeed, the sector in Wales being more aware of network commissioners and pitching stories to them as well. So, it is—as Jon says, it's a tough market. It is, but we are succeeding in winning commissions. But that's kind of what we do. That's inherent in our culture really—the productions we make for S4C, we win them, we're not given them, we don't have a right to make them. We have to win them and compete with everybody else. So, it's kind of what we do. It's tough, but we're having some success with it. 

10:25

Thank you, and it's really good to hear about all of the programmes that are going to be coming up from that. Do you have a specific strategy looking at increasing how much you're commissioning in Wales, or is it something that—? I take your point that this is very much in the kind of—whatever bara menyn is; bread and butter, it literally is bread and butter—bread and butter of what you do, but is there a specific strategy that you have to increase the amount of content that you're commissioning in Wales? Or, if there isn't, is that something that you'd consider?

Yes, I think there has been a strategy that we want to, in a sense, showcase—. It's a twofold strategy really, or threefold maybe. We want to showcase the very best content we're making in Wales. So, does something like The Harbour have a life in Wales, but also in the UK? Yes. We also want to bring in programmes like Code Blue, which was made specifically for the network, but 100 per cent originated as an idea in Wales, and was commissioned directly by the network. And I think this is a really important point to make in terms of what we can offer our employees, so retaining talent in Wales. So, often—when I joined the industry, if you wanted to work on network programmes, you would have to go to London, whereas I've been able to make a career in Wales, loving what I do, but also have been able to do stuff for the network. And other people are coming through that.

So, in terms of developing our team, all the people that work on these programmes have a day job, if you like, supporting the Wales schedule, but, equally, get an opportunity then to work on programmes like Code Blue, like The Coastal Path. And that develops the talent in Wales as well. So, we retain staff. 

And, again, just to answer specifically the question, I think, again, it probably comes back to my opening statement, really, that we are being really successful as ITV in maximising the audience share for the channel, and we're working really hard at that. But that means that every programme that's commissioned for ITV, for the main network, has got to perform really, really well in terms of viewership. And we know what works. So, in many ways, you commission 'more of that'. So, that does almost—that makes the bar even harder, even higher. But what we are seeing too is that ITV recognises that, if it just does the same thing, if it just speaks to a small hinterland around the M25, then it potentially is missing an opportunity. And we are a voice within ITV for that, that sort of says, 'ITV as a company, as a channel, should be representing more of the UK', and Wales is absolutely at the forefront of banging the door and saying, 'There's great stories here, great talent in Wales: commission more of it.' And we have been banging that drum. We are putting systematic things in place to reinforce that point, and every commission we secure makes a difference in the schedule, and, hopefully, creates a more positive story. 

And just to add a footnote to that, we talk about it growing—we have recently been having discussions with the BBC, which people might have found strange a couple of years ago, to actually produce some content for them. So, those discussions are very live at the moment, but we're optimistic that that could be another way of growing our content for BBC Wales as well. 

Just a quick question. You know that figure we've got, figure 17, in terms of qualifying network productions in Wales, has that changed since you put that in, in relation to the hours? It's 0.1 per cent. What would you believe would be a fair proportion of the—

So, as I started by saying, it's probably a single year that does not reflect the big picture if you took a five-year look at it. So, there was a lot of stuff in—. There was The Aberfan Young Wives' Club in 2016. We had The Harbour in 2017, and then you've referred to The Island Strait in 2018. Lots going on this year. We've had Code Blue, which is up on that. We've got The Mountain coming along as well in two weeks' time, looking at a year in the life of Snowdonia; The Coastal Path next year. So, it is growing. I think the snapshot probably doesn't reflect the fair amount. 

But you wouldn't have a target as to how to increase that, because, of course, you would be just be pitching, as you've explained already this morning, into a wider pool. You couldn't say, 'By x year, we'd want to be at 0.5 per cent', or something.

10:30

No. I can tell you lots more would be my ambition—as more as I can possibly get my hands on. As I said, we're talking to the BBC at the moment. We've got new ideas, exciting ideas, in with S4C; ideas in with the ITV network. Of course, with all these things, you need a bit of luck and you need some things to come good, but everything, I think, is lining up to increase. That said, that doesn't affect the bottom line in terms of advertising.

Internally, we’ve got our own targets in terms of what we want to achieve in terms of the spend et cetera, et cetera. So, internally, we are setting our own targets as ITV Cymru Wales—what we want to achieve—and putting things in place to try to achieve those. Now, that’s not all within our control, because it is then within the control of the commissioners. And this whole issue too does sit within a context that, as a PSB, there is a quota on ITV to deliver a proportion of its network spend outside of London. So, that quota does exist. Currently, that quota is fulfilled by mostly the productions in Manchester and in Leeds, but there is that quota. And I wouldn’t want this debate to characterise ITV as a London-centric broadcaster. I think nearly half of its staff are based outside of London. We have considerable spend on nations and regions news—the biggest outside of the BBC. So, I do understand that sometimes it might look like it’s a very London-centric broadcaster, but it’s not.

In regard to the comments that you’ve made, you all know what works—the formula—and you have your very neat framework for that, much more constrained perhaps than others. In regard then to how you nurture innovation and creativity, you just touched upon conversations with the BBC and potentially with S4C: how do you balance that in terms of creativity and innovation?

Well, we live and die by creativity in ITV Cymru Wales—only the best ideas, and we have to generate those ideas. So, every week, there is a weekly ideas meeting where we talk about what the next great idea coming along is. It has to be an ideas factory, because, whether that be in English language programmes, in S4C or with network, we live and die by them. So, we nurture that by having a culture that is very creative and open and honest. And we bring in a young team as well so that we’re on-trend in terms of what’s coming through. And, as I mentioned, the network programming means that we are really developing people who very quickly are learning and some of the people who worked on the Code Blue programme I spoke about are currently broadcasting live from Japan for the Rugby World Cup. Those are young people who are very technically savvy, but also full of great ideas, and that’s how we retain and attract them to ITV Cymru Wales.

It’s a nice proposition when you’re interviewing someone to say, ‘Look, there’s this job here, but it has the potential to do that job, but not only do that job, you have the potential to work on network programmes as well, or in both languages’. And that’s an attractive proposition if you’re pitching to young people coming out of apprenticeships or university courses.

Yes. I’ll just come back to figure 17. I do accept that, if you go back to 2015, there are some better figures there, but in terms of the network spend in Wales being—well, it fluctuates, but some very low figures there: take 2015, the highest one in the last few years, 0.3 per cent. If you look at the revenue then that ITV gets, is there a close alignment between the share of network spending and the revenue that's generated in Wales, or do we generate actually more than 0.3 per cent in terms of that figure?

I'll be honest, I don't have access to those kinds of figures. We're a highly integrated company, so those figures internally don't exist. In terms of—. I suppose what sits behind your question is: could and should there be a quota that more accurately reflects not simply where production shouldn’t be but where it should be? But that, in a sense, is not a matter for me, and it’s not a matter for ITV. We’re a commercial company and we want to maximise the money that is spent on the programming rather than serving quotas, potentially, and that would always be our argument.

On the flip side of that, and it almost comes back to my earlier comments, you can be doing really well in one area of the business but that seems to conflict with another part of the business. I think this is sort of similar. There is a quota on ITV to produce a substantial amount of programming outside of London. This committee can ask the question: is that making its way to Wales? If you take a view and see that it's 0.01 per cent, the answer is 'no'. Well, what could be done about that? You could potentially look at quotas and, as a politician, change them. What we would argue, the things we can control, is we look at that too and say, 'Actually, we believe that we've got ideas, we've got access, and we've got content that will actually enrich the schedule.' So, we are banging on the door, from a Welsh perspective, saying, 'Commission more of these.' Yes, that is a conversation that says—there's nothing compelling the person to do it other than the idea itself, and that comes back to the creativity point there.

I'll give you one example in terms of creativity, around the Aberfan programme, which Jon referenced. On many levels, that was a straightforward documentary proposition that said, 'It's 50 years since this event happened, and it should be marked on a national UK channel such as ITV.' But, we didn't go in with that proposition. We went in with a very different proposition that said, 'There was this incredible thing that happened 50 years ago, and within that and what that led to was an extraordinary group of ladies, the wives, and their stories are absolutely incredible, and that creates a front story to the back story of Aberfan.' And that's what got that programme commissioned. That is what I think the judges at the RTS recognised and gave it an award. That, I think, is a real example of what it is we are trying to achieve.

I completely understand, from your perspective, surely it would be better if there's a 5 per cent target for a 5 per cent population, and everything's good. That's not within my control, but what is in my control is to engender a team to be creative, to think broadly, and to also use our influence with network commissioners to say, 'Think about this, consider this', and we are having some success with that. And then, on top of that, there is a wider sector in Wales that we want to encourage to engage with ITV. At the end of the day, we can only commission ideas that come to us. If those ideas aren't coming to us, then we can't commission them. So, we've put in place strategies to encourage the wider independent sector to knock on the door of ITV and ask ITV, 'Is my idea something you can see on your channel?' And increasingly, the answer to that is becoming 'yes', and I think that's a good story.

10:35

I accept where you are. As long as you're meeting your public service requirements, you're a commercial company and you can make your own decisions. But I think it's quite useful to have some sort of measures, if we're in the game of seeing Welsh cultural and creative life flourish, and, I would have thought, some sort of alignment between the revenue raised and then the network production share you're getting. The best year recently, you've had 0.3 per cent—one third of 1 per cent, if I've got that right. I wouldn't expect you'd get 5 per cent, the population share, but I'd be very surprised if the advertising revenue is 0.3 per cent. It may be that low, but it would astonish me. I'm certain it's not 0.01 per cent, which is what you've had the last two years. Again, I accept you're under no obligation here, but it does seem so way off that some sort of explanation might be helpful to us.

Again, I suppose it's a sort of similar argument to—. Is having more public service programmes specifically for the Welsh audience a good thing? Of course it is. Is having more network productions made in Wales on ITV a good thing? Of course it is. I'm not arguing against that. But at the same time, if you reverse the equation, if you are a commercial channel and you are competing with hundreds of other commercial channels, then what your job is is to maximise the audience share for that channel so that the adverts on that channel are maximised in order to generate the value that you're talking about. And we are doing that very successfully.

The point I would take from that is that the model that we are applying currently, which I accept does not use an awful lot of programming from Wales in the schedule, is performing successfully. So, in that environment, you change it at your risk, and that, in a sense, is what we're battling. The return on the investment in Wales, the value that is generated by the schedule, is maximised by what we are currently doing because that schedule is performing really well. That's the conundrum. I don't disagree with you that more network production would be a good thing. But, the schedule is currently performing really well, so changes within that schedule are—. The risk that sits within it becomes greater. I know that it's not a very satisfactory explanation, but that's the best that I can do.

10:40

Diolch. Mae'n rhaid inni symud ymlaen, sori. 

Thank you. We have to move on, sorry. 

[Inaudible.]—as David has rehearsed. If, as you were saying, Jonathan, things perhaps are a bit better now, or are likely to be a bit better going forward, it might be useful if you could provide us with some further information on that, which sets out that picture that might be a bit more encouraging than the one we have heard. 

Very briefly—I hear what you're saying—there are two things going on here. There's what ITV Cymru Wales is doing, but also what ITV is doing—plc. So, as Phil alluded at the beginning, there is Bad Wolf commissioning of major drama. ITV have recently commissioned another major drama to be shot in Wales with a Welsh story. Yeti Television is about to, next week, have a film about 50 years of the Prince of Wales. So, there is network activity and commissioning going on. We get some of it. Other independents get part of it as well. ITV is investing in Wales. 

Okay. Back to news and current affairs. Last year, there was investment in specialist journalism in Wales, particularly with a focus on devolved matters and a greater live broadcasting capacity. I wonder if you could tell us what impact that has had. 

It's had a very positive impact. Ten years ago, people were concerned that ITV wouldn't be able to fulfil its public service obligations in Wales, and that the quality of programmes that it could produce wouldn't be what you would want. But, I think we're sharing is that we've really invested, creatively and financially, in the programmes that we're making—sorry, I completely lost my track there. Look, at the end of the day—. Let's take the news programme. That has increased its share for nine out of the last 10 years, and we are incredibly proud of that. That's in a very competitive market. Some of the things that you are alluding to are the reasons that that has happened. The news programme itself has not stood still in the last 10 years. The marketplace has changed around it.

We were one of the first broadcasters to move to a new location. We were one of the first broadcasters in Wales to re-equip and retrain our staff to use new technology. The new technology, in terms of live, that you talk about has really enhanced the storytelling that we are able to achieve. We deliberately set out too to make the programme really distinctive. So, maybe 10 years ago, that programme might have looked and felt very similar to its rivals. I think that it feels very different now. I think that it is very much in tune with its audience. I think that all of these things—. You have got a hugely passionate team who really care about what they do and are doing an absolutely terrific job. When you add all of these things together, I think that what that gives is a really compelling offer to the audience and a demonstration of that is the fact that it has grown its share in nine out of the last 10 years. Sorry—got confused at the top. Apologies.

Dwi jest eisiau gofyn un cwestiwn ychwanegol. Rydych chi'n siarad yn bositif am newyddion rhanbarthol. Ond, o gymharu â rhanbarthau eraill y Deyrnas Unedig, mae BBC One ar 64 y cant o ran bodlonrwydd, ac mae ITV Cymru ar 63 y cant o ran bodlonrwydd. Mae hynny dal yn fwy isel nag ardaloedd eraill o Brydain. Beth ydych chi'n mynd i wneud i geisio newid hynny?

I just want to ask one additional question. You are speaking positively about regional news. But, compared to other regions of the United Kingdom, BBC One is on 64 per cent satisfaction, and ITV Wales is on 63 per cent. That's still less than other parts of the UK. So, what are you going to do to try and change that?

Sorry, I might have missed a little bit in terms of the translation there.

In terms of viewer satisfaction, it's 64 per cent for BBC One and ITV Cymru is 63 per cent, so it's still lower than other parts of the British isles in relation to what audiences feel in terms of what they get from the news. What are you going to do to address that? That's what I asked. 

10:45

I don't quite know what the source of those figures is. Again, I suppose I can only come back to the answer I've just given, really—that the audience ultimately are the final arbiters of whether the service we're providing is a good one or not, and, as I say, in nine out of the last 10 years in the competitive television market, we have grown audience share. I think that tells its own story. We don't rest on our laurels with that; we're constantly looking at how that can be improved. Social media is a good mirror for what we're doing and people on social media will quite quickly tell us if they don't like something. 

Sorry—this was from the Ofcom 'Media Nations 2019' report, just to clarify. 

Okay, thank you.

I need to reference my source when I ask the questions. 

That's absolutely fine. And I suppose I'm a glass-half-full type of guy as well. Actually, 63 per cent satisfaction, that's not too bad. That means pretty much two out of three people are content with what we're doing and—

But we can't stand still, can we? That's what I was trying to ask: what can we do to improve? It's not saying it's awful, but there's room for improvement there. 

There always is. And we actually take that as a starting point always, really. We do not rest on our laurels and I don't think we would have built share and done what we've done if we'd took that point of view and said, 'Actually, what we're doing is perfect', and pour wax over it and leave it the same. We're actually constantly evolving; we're constantly looking at how we can improve the service to our audience and improve the standards of journalism that we give. So, yes, you're absolutely right, there is room for improvement, but that's from a very good base and we've shown steady progress over the past decade.

Ocê. Diolch. Rhianon Passmore.

Okay. Thanks. Rhianon Passmore. 

[Inaudible.]—and nurturing the relationship between yourself and the private sector and independent production, what would assist you in that journey—bearing in mind your commercial nature—in terms of the wider landscape around you? Or is it purely something that you see as entirely internal?

What being 'entirely internal'? Sorry.

So, in regard to the importance of working with the wider sector, we'll touch on it a little bit later on in terms of your relationship with the BBC and S4C, but do you see that growth in terms of being able to commission and use the independent sector as entirely something within your gift, or is this something, perhaps, that Welsh Government can be doing better, faster or smarter in terms of being able to assist that growth in terms of your ability to be able to, in a sense, grow the sector?

I suppose my overall answer to that would be I think there's an awful lot to be really proud of in the Welsh independent screen sector and perhaps we don't actually shout about it enough. I remember not so long ago the chairman of ITV came down just at the beginning of this year. I took him on a bit of a whistle-stop tour. I did a couple of hours: we went to Bad Wolf, we went to Boom, and we met with Welsh Government officials, and he was absolutely blown away by the energy and the ambition of the sector and also the range. So, in many ways, I'd say the sector is in really terrific health and perhaps can shout about it more. The Creative Cities Convention that was held in Cardiff back in February, I thought, was a fantastic—

Well, what I was just going to come to is that I do think that there is a role for Government, and this committee has touched on that. I think the inbox for Creative Wales is full and there are some important things to do. And, I suppose, two things I would point to would be around skills. The sector is growing hugely but there needs to be some leadership and co-ordination in terms of skills training because, ultimately, it's the workforce that will retain the work here in Wales and I think that's really vital. And another issue too for our industry in particular is around diversity as well. So, how are the workforces within our sector really representing the communities in which they're based? So, those would probably be the two areas that I might say—

And in regard to commissioning, we understand the importance of that and in terms of your place in this commercial market and this highly competitive globalised sector. Is there anything on that particular front or do you see that as completely internal between yourselves and your ITV plc masters or mistresses?

10:50

Well, again, there are always things that can help—

Yes. I think there are always things—. Let me give you an example around—

As Jon says, we're making a programme on the coastal path, and, actually, some of the estate and some of the levers about getting access and so on and so forth are controlled by Welsh Government and so on and so forth. Could that have been easier? Could some of those fees be waived, looking at the bigger picture about what that programme might achieve for Wales when it's shown on the network? 'Yes' would probably be my answer.

Do you feel—? I mean, that would be interesting at some point to be, perhaps, articulated to this committee. So, do you feel, in regard to—? We talked a little bit earlier about the Welsh share, et cetera, et cetera. Do you feel that Wales is being taken seriously in terms of your message? Everything you're telling us is very positive in terms of your creativity, in terms of your negotiation, in terms of your relationships and your conversations and negotiations, but in regard to bumping up our Welsh content, primarily is there anything that you can point to that would assist you in that negotiation? We've talked about the skills and we've talked about the wider angle. Is there anything that you can just simply—three bullet points—say to us as to what would help?

I could go away and think about it and come back to you with three bullet points.

That's a really good answer. And on that point, in regard to your relationship with S4C, how has that changed? We've touched upon BBC developments. In regard to that, you've mentioned a number of different points earlier. Have ITV companies been able to win any BBC work? We've touched upon this a little bit. And also, in regard to the current climate, we've also touched upon, I think, in terms of the questions that I have got. So, in a nutshell, what is that current state of play in terms of your wider working?

Do you want to answer on S4C?

So, fe wnaf i ateb o ran ein perthynas ni gyda S4C. Yn amlwg, perthynas masnachol sydd gyda ni gyda S4C. So, mae'n rhaid i ni ennill comisiynau yr un peth ag unrhyw gwmni annibynnol arall yng Nghymru. Mae gyda ni range o raglenni yn mynd o Cefn Gwlad, rhaglenni gwledig fel yna, i faterion cyfoes, i bethau sy'n apelio mwy at bobl ifanc, gan cynnwys materion cyfoes ar Hansh, platfform digidol S4C. Rŷn ni, mewn partneriaeth gyda S4C, yn ddiweddar wedi cyflogi dau newyddiadurwr dan hyfforddiant i wneud y gwaith yna, yn arbennig ar gyfer pobl ifanc ar blatfform Hansh, a dwi'n credu bod hwnna'n bwysig. Mae'n dangos ein bod ni'n gwneud mwy na jest rhaglenni teledu. Rŷn ni fan hyn yn cyfrannu at fywyd cymdeithasol Cymru ac yn buddsoddi yn y genhedlaeth nesaf o newyddiadurwyr, yn enwedig drwy'r iaith Gymraeg, dwi'n credu, sy'n bwysig iawn, fod yna blwraliaeth i'r BBC a'n bod ni'n buddsoddi yn y talent ar gyfer y dyfodol. Felly, mae hwnna'n un o'r pethau pwysig dŷn ni wedi bod yn gweithio gyda S4C arno fe dros y flwyddyn diwethaf.

I will respond in terms of our relationship with S4C. Now, clearly, we have a commercial relationship with S4C. So, we have to win commissions, just like any other independent company in Wales would have to do. We have a whole range of programmes, going from Cefn Gwlad, rural output like that, to current affairs, to things that appeal more to young people, including current affairs on Hansh, which is a digital platform on S4C. And in partnership with S4C, we have recently employed two trainee journalists to do that work particularly for young people on the Hansh platform, and I think that's important. It shows that we do more than simply produce television programmes. We are contributing to the social life of Wales and are investing in the next generation of journalists, too, particularly through the medium of Welsh, which I think is hugely important, that there's plurality for the BBC and that we do invest in future talent, too. So, that's one of the important things that we've been doing with S4C over the last year. 

Ocê. Jest symud ymlaen at y cwestiwn olaf gan Mick Antoniw, o ran amlygrwydd. 

Okay. Just moving on to the final question from Mick Antoniw, in terms of prominence. 

It's a short question. You refer in your evidence to the impact that Amazon and Netflix are having. They are, clearly, international leaders in the digital revolution and there are, of course, others coming into the market all the time that are moving in. And you suggest this has a significant impact on the plurality of public service broadcasting, but you also made the comment that not only does it put at risk the plurality of tv services in the UK market, but

'particularly PSB services which speak to UK citizens in particular, supporting our culture, democracy and economy.'

I didn't quite understand that last bit, what your particular concern is about the impact of these and the impact on the plurality of service, particularly within the context of culture, language, democracy and so on. I wonder if you could expand upon that.

Well, I think, essentially, what we're saying there is that it's, sort of, like taking—. If you take stock of what ITV Wales does, both in terms of the public service programmes we produce in Wales and the role that they play within Welsh civic life and then there's the economic aspect, which is the people who are paid wages and pay taxes in that part of the country, the impact that that has and so on and so forth, in many ways, Mark Thompson has made this point better than I'm going to be able to do in terms of, at the moment, legislation and legislative focus is around—. He equates it to picking up litter off the beach, and what he's suggesting is that you actually look out to sea because there's a tsunami on the way. And I think that the point is to sort of elevate the conversation beyond some of the conversations that we've had here today, which are absolutely perfectly valid—no question—but, further down the track, there is real and significant change coming that could impact quite literally everything that we're doing, without action. And I think that's what we're trying to say.

So, specifically, in terms of what could happen, Ofcom has come back and made its recommendations and said, 'This is what we think should happen in terms of PSB prominence, not just on linear television channels, which is the system in which we're currently operating, but also online.' That's to be welcomed but it requires legislation and your voice, you are a voice for Wales, and I would make a plea to get that voice heard in legislative circles by the decision makers who need to make that policy decision. They need to make that policy decision.

But that, in itself, is not going to be enough, and that's our argument: it is not enough to be prominent on these platforms, you also have to be able to make money out of being on those platforms. And if the people who control the platforms don't allow you to make money out of them, then you can be prominent, your content can be on there, but if you have no ability to make a commercial return on that and you're a commercial organisation, then that's not much use to you as well. So, that is where the radical nature of the reforms really do sit. I'm not sitting here and saying, 'And the answer to that is—', but that is the problem.

10:55

What would be the most significant change that could be made that would increase or improve your commercial viability then?

Exactly that. There is a principle of universality that, whether you're headquartered in the USA or your company is global or not and you've got a platform, public service content is visible on that platform. But then, as I call it, universality-plus is a commercial company such as ITV's ability to make money out of that prominence on that platform, and that can be where the barrier is. So, say, for example, you've got a television channel on the Sky platform, you don't get any of the data for your television channel about who's watching, when they're watching and so on and so forth. So, you have no ability, beyond the prominence of that channel, to actually leverage it, if that makes sense.

Similarly, it might be that the principle of universality is that you have to give them the content—you can't even charge them for it—and, again, in a commercial sector, in effect, you're kind of giving away your content. So, what we're saying is, yes, universality is clearly important in today's world where people are accessing less content through the electronic programme guide, which is what the system currently relies on. Yes, that needs to change. Yes, Ofcom have come back and said, 'These are our recommendations.' The Government now needs to act and I would urge this committee to make its voice heard within that debate, but then it goes beyond that and says, 'Okay, in terms of universality-plus, how can commercial organisations such as ITV leverage that prominence on other platforms?'

Well, I know we're going to explore this further, but I think I've taken it as far as I can.

Yes. We're going to do something in November alongside Ofcom. But I just wanted to ask, finally, you know you mentioned that Boom is a separate company, would it be entirely possible for Boom to appeal to Netflix and Amazon to commission certain programmes on those platforms as opposed to focusing on ITV solely, or is that something that wouldn't be possible? It's not something I'm an expert in, but I just thought I'd ask because obviously they're not just a host place, they are commissioning drama as well.

Again, it's part of the—. It's like, not the contradictions within the story, but, you know, on the one side of the forest in terms of the television business, the global giants pose a real threat to the television side of the business, but then we also see opportunity in the sense that we are investing hugely in production, because we see an opportunity to be able to provide programming to those platforms and so on and so forth. It's a little bit of a frenemy, in some ways. And, indeed, absolutely, from Boom's perspective, as a pure production house, yes, absolutely, they will look at the world and will look at the opportunity that all of these provide, and that's the balance in the whole consideration of ITV, really.

That's why we are investing in production because we see the potential for future growth there, but then when you come back and start talking about public service programming, well, when you look at the horizon in front of you, you think, 'Actually, we don't see future growth there so we're not going to be investing money in that part of the business', or it becomes incredibly hard for us to invest money in that part of the business. And that is the subtlety in the ITV story. We can be doing really, really well in the production sales side of the business, but that doesn't help and support the public service side of the business, or the television side of the business. 

11:00

Okay. We've come to the end of the session. 

Dŷn ni wedi dod i ddiwedd y sesiwn, felly diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am roi tystiolaeth inni. Diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am ddod i mewn atom. Os oes unrhyw beth rydych chi eisiau ei ychwanegu, efallai o ran y pwynt roedd John Griffiths yn siarad amdano ynglŷn â rhai o'r pethau y byddwch chi'n eu gwneud yn y dyfodol, lawr y lein, i Jonathan Hill, efallai bod hynny'n rhywbeth y gallwn ni edrych arno fel pwyllgor ymhellach. Ond diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am ddod i mewn atom. 

Gwnawn ni gymryd seibiant o bum munud nawr cyn inni sgrwtineiddio'r BBC.

We have come to the end of the session, so thank you very much to you for giving your evidence this morning. Thank you for joining us this morning as well. If there's anything that you want to add, perhaps in terms of the point that John Griffiths was talking about, about some of the things that you are doing or thinking about doing in the future, further along the line, for Jonathan Hill, perhaps that's something that we could look at as a committee, further to this. But thank you to you for coming in. 

We will take a break of five minutes now before we scrutinise the BBC.

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 11:01 a 11:12.

The meeting adjourned between 11:01 and 11:12.

11:10
3. Gwaith craffu blynyddol ar BBC Cymru
3. Annual Scrutiny of BBC Cymru Wales

Diolch, a chroeso nôl i’r pwyllgor. Dŷn ni’n symud ymlaen yn awr at eitem 3, craffu blynyddol ar y BBC, a dŷn ni’n croesawu Rhodri Talfan Davies, cyfarwyddwr BBC Cymru Wales, ac wedyn Elan Closs Stephens, sef aelod o fwrdd y BBC ar gyfer Cymru. Croeso i chi’ch dau. Dŷn ni’n gwybod eich bod chi wedi arfer â dod mewn atom erbyn hyn. Felly, dŷn ni’n mynd i ofyn cwestiynau ar sail themâu gwahanol, ac, os mae’n iawn gyda chi, awn ni’n syth mewn i gwestiynau gan Aelodau penodol, gan gychwyn gyda Delyth Jewell.

Thank you, and welcome back to the committee meeting. We're moving on now to item 3, annual scrutiny of BBC Cymru Wales, and we welcome Rhodri Talfan Davies, director of BBC Cymru Wales, and also Elan Closs Stephens, BBC board member for Wales. Welcome to you both. We know that you're used to coming in to give evidence now. So, we're going to ask themed questions, and, if it's okay with you, we'll go straight to questions from Members, starting with Delyth Jewell.

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn am y ffordd mae’r cyfryngau’n newid ac fel mae lot mwy o bobl yn mynd at blatfformau digidol, er ein bod ni’n gwylio—beth yw 'content' yn Gymraeg?

Thank you, Chair. I wanted to ask about how the media is changing and how people are accessing digital material, although we're watching—what's 'content' in Welsh?

Cynnwys. Diolch yn fawr. Sut mae BBC Cymru’n ymateb i’r heriau yna o ran sut mae cynulleidfaoedd yn bihafio? Mae hwnna’n newid cymaint.

Cynnwys. Thank you. How is BBC Cymru Wales responding to those challenges in terms of how audiences behave? That is changing so much.

Ie, mae’n gwestiwn da, ac mae yna dueddiad weithiau i drafod hwn fel newid anodd. Mae yna lot o sôn am disruption o fewn y sector. Mae yna gyfleoedd mawr hefyd. Mae’r datblygiadau fel newyddion ar-lein yn caniatáu inni gyrraedd to o bobl na fyddai’n troi’n draddodiadol at systemau radio na theledu. Ac mae’r ffaith ein bod ni’n gweld cymaint o gynnydd yn y maes yna’n drawiadol.

Mae iPlayer wedi gweddnewid y ffordd dŷn ni’n ystyried cynnwys a chomisiynu achos yn yr hen ddyddiau—a dwi’n sôn am ryw bum mlynedd yn ôl—mi fuasen ni dim ond yn comisiynu ar gyfer BBC One Wales a BBC Two Wales. Ac yn sydyn reit mae gan BBC Cymru fynedfa syth i'r llwyfan Prydeinig. Ac felly, mae nifer fawr o’n rhaglenni ni, er yn perfformio’n dda ar BBC One Wales, mae’r rhan fwyaf o’r gwylio yn digwydd ar iPlayer achos bod y farchnad cymaint yn fwy. Felly, mae rhaglenni fel, yn amlwg, Keeping Faith, Hidden, The 1900 Island, a Back in Time for the Factory, rŷch chi’n cael 200,000 ar y teledu, ond wedyn rŷch chi’n gweld miliynau yn troi at y rhaglenni yna trwy'r system iPlayer.

Felly, mae yna heriau. Mae yna heriau o ran blaenoriaethu arian. Mae yna heriau o ran sgiliau newydd. Mae'r genhedlaeth ifanc yn defnyddio cyfryngau mewn ffordd reit wahanol. Mae eisiau pobl o fewn y darlledwyr sy'n deall hynny a sy'n teimlo'n naturiol yn y maes, felly. Ond dwi'n meddwl ein bod ni'n ymdopi'n dda. Dwi'n meddwl yn y ffigurau rydych chi wedi eu gweld yn y cyhoeddiad diweddar yma fod yna lot o gynnydd yn y maes digidol.

Yr unig beth arall fuaswn i'n ei ddweud yw, yn y bôn, creadigrwydd sydd yn aros yn greiddiol. Mae'r llwyddiannau rŷm ni wedi eu cael yn ganlyniad i ddau beth: buddsoddiad ychwanegol a chreadigrwydd. Mae'r ffaith ein bod ni'n gallu manteisio ar lwyfannau newydd yn ogystal â llwyfannau pwysig darlledu sy'n parhau—mae hynny wedi bod yn fanteisiol inni yn hytrach nac yn fygythiad.

It's a good question. There's a tendency sometimes to think about this as a difficult change. There's a lot of talk of disruption within the sector. But there are major opportunities as well. Developments such as online news allow us to reach a cohort of people who wouldn't turn traditionally to the more traditional forms of radio and television. And the way that we're seeing an increase in that arena is striking.

iPlayer has changed the way that we consider content and commissioning because in the old days—and I'm talking about five or so years ago—we only commissioned for BBC One Wales and BBC Two Wales. And suddenly BBC Cymru Wales has access instantly to a British platform. And so, a number of our programmes, even though they perform well on BBC One Wales, the majority of the viewing happens on iPlayer because the market is so much bigger. So, programmes such as Keeping Faith, Hidden, The 1900 Island, and Back in Time for the Factory, for example, if you have 200,000 viewers on television, you see millions turning to those programmes through iPlayer. 

So, there are challenges. There are challenges in terms of prioritising funding. There are challenges in terms of new skills. The younger generation use media in a different way, so we need people within the broadcasters who understand that and who feel comfortable in that arena, as it were. But I think we're coping well. I think in the figures that you've seen in the recent publication that there is a great deal of progress and increase in digital.

The only other thing that I would say is that, at heart, it's creativity that's vitally important here. The successes that we've had are as a result of two things: additional investment and creativity. The fact that we can benefit from new platforms as well as the important broadcasting platforms that continue to be important—that has been beneficial to us, rather than a threat.

11:15

Allaf i jest ychwanegu? Dwi'n meddwl y dylid rhannu, efallai, y math o rifau sydd wedi bod yn dod at y cynnwys Cymreig ar iPlayer.

Could I just add—? I think we should share the kind of numbers that we've seen on Welsh content on iPlayer.

Os cymerwch chi'r flwyddyn diwethaf, dŷn ni wedi symud o—dwi'n meddwl bod y ffigurau yn yr adroddiad. Roedd yna 14 miliwn o geisiadau am gynnwys BBC Cymru ar iPlayer ddwy flynedd yn ôl—14 miliwn. Y flwyddyn sydd newydd fynd, roedd o'n 44 miliwn. Mae hynny ynglŷn â chomisiynu yn benodol, achos mae iPlayer yn gweithio mewn ffordd gwahanol i ddarlledu sianeli. Mae rhaglenni ffeithiol—. So, mae rhaglenni dogfen yn perfformio'n waeth, mae rhaglenni drama a chomedi yn perfformio yn well. So, mae angen ymdopi a newid, ac mae angen beth dŷn ni'n eu galw yn big bets. Dyw e ddim ynglŷn â volume o gynnwys a channoedd o oriau o gynnwys, mae e ynglŷn â'r cynnwys iawn, ac mae hynny angen canolbwyntio'r buddsoddiad ar y projectau sy'n mynd i weithio yn y maes yna.

If you take the past year—I think the figures are in the report—but there were 14 million access requests for BBC Cymru Wales content on iPlayer two years ago—14 million. Now, in the past year, it was 44 million. That is with regard specifically to commissioning, because iPlayer works in a different way to broadcasting on channels. Factual programmes or documentaries perform worse, drama and comedy programmes perform better. So, we need to cope with that change, and we need big bets—that's what we call them. It's not about the volume of content and having hundreds of hours of content, it's about having the right content, and we need to focus the investment on the projects that are going to work in that arena.

Petaswn i jest yn gallu ychwanegu—yr ochr llai positif o hyn, dwi'n meddwl, i bob un ohonom ni ydy bod y cyfryngau newydd yma i gyd yn dueddol o roi ffordd ichi i jest fynd at y cynnwys rydych chi wedi meddwl dŷch chi eisiau ei weld. Hynny ydy, mae o'n atgyfnerthu pa bynnag farn neu ragfarn sydd gennych chi. So, os ŷch chi dim ond eisiau gweld drama, dŷch chi'n mynd i Netflix a dŷch chi'n gweld drama, neu dŷch chi'n mynd i iPlayer a dŷch chi'n gweld drama. Beth dŷch chi ddim yn mynd i wneud, fel mae teledu arferol yn ei wneud, ydy eich bod chi'n ddamweiniol yn dod ar draws rhywbeth, neu, wrth gwrs, eich bod chi'n dal dechrau'r newyddion ac yn aros gyda'r newyddion neu gyda gwasanaeth newyddion materion gwleidyddol. A dwi'n meddwl bod yna golled yn fanna o ran cyfanrwydd y profiad i bobl.

If I could just add—the less positive aspect of this for each and every one of us is that these new media do tend to provide a means for you just to access the content that you think you want to see. It reinforces whatever view or prejudice you already have. So, if you only want to see drama, you go straight to Netflix, or you go to iPlayer and you view drama. Now, what you're not going to do, as linear television does, is just stumble across something, or that you catch the beginning of the news and then stay with that and view the whole programme, or it could be programming on political matters. And I think there is something lost there in terms of the totality of people's experience.

Gaf i ychwanegu un peth arall, jest wrth sôn am heriau? Achos rŷn ni wedi trafod lot yn y pwyllgor yma yr issue ynglŷn â chynrychioli Cymru ar y sgrin Prydeinig, ar y rhwydweithiau Prydeinig, a phwysigrwydd bod diwylliant Cymreig yn cael ei adlewyrchu mewn marchnad fwy eang. Dwi'n meddwl bod Prydain bellach yn mynd i gael yr un heriau ag mae'r Cymry wedi eu cael am gyfnod. Os edrychwch chi ar sut mae pobl iau yn defnyddio Netflix neu Amazon, mae'r cynnydd yn y defnydd o gynnwys Americanaidd yn drawiadol iawn. Gwnaeth y rhan fwyaf ohonom ni gael ein magu ar aelwydydd lle'r oedd canran helaeth o'r darlledu a'r cynnwys roeddem ni'n ei ddefnyddio yn gynnwys Prydeinig neu yn gynnwys Cymreig. Mae hynny'n newid yn gyflym gyda'r to iau, ac mae yna effaith diwylliannol yn hynny mae'n rhaid inni ei ystyried hefyd.

Can I just add one thing in terms of challenges? We've talked a lot in this committee about the issue of representing Wales on the UK screen and networks, and the importance of Welsh culture being reflected in the broader market. I think that the UK is going to face the same challenges as Wales has faced. If you look at how younger people use Netflix or Amazon, the increase in the use of American content is very striking. Most of us were brought up in homes where the vast majority of broadcasting and the content that we accessed was British or Welsh content. That is changing quickly with the younger generation, and there's a cultural impact of that that we need to consider as well.

Jest yn glou, pan wnaeth y clerciaid fynd mas i siarad efo'r Senedd Ieuenctid, roedden nhw'n gofyn am fersiynau Cymreig o bethau Americanaidd. Oes yna sgôp i wneud hynny? Ocê, dŷn ni ddim eisiau cut and paste, ond, os maen nhw'n gofyn am y pethau hynny fel fersiynau Cymreig, pam nad ydych chi'n meddwl am wneud hynny?

Just briefly, when the clerks went out to speak to the Youth Parliament, they were asking for Welsh versions of American content. Is there any scope to do that? Okay, we don't want a cut-and-paste approach, but if they're asking for those things in a Welsh version, why wouldn't you consider doing that?

Wel, dwi'n meddwl byddai hwnna'n ddewis diwylliannol inni. Dwi'n meddwl bod cynnwys Prydeinig a Chymreig cystal â chynnwys Americanaidd. Dwi ddim yn meddwl ein bod ni'n gorfod copïo beth sydd gan yr Americanwyr—

Well, I think that's a cultural choice for us. I think that UK and Welsh content is as good as American content. I don't think we have to copy what the US—

Y bobl ifanc oedd yn gofyn.

It was the young people who were making these suggestions.

Ie, dwi'n deall hynny, ond yr issue mwyaf yw ynglŷn â—mae yna gymaint o gynnwys ar Netflix, ac er eu bod nhw'n sôn am engrheifftiau Prydeinig o beth maen nhw'n comisynu, fel The Crown, mae'r ganran helaeth o'u harian yn cael ei fuddsoddi yn yr Unol Daleithiau. Gwnaeth Phil drafod hwn yn gynharach; mae amlygrwydd ggwasanaethau Prydeinig ar y llwyfannau newydd o fewn social media. Rŷm ni'n cael ein gwthio i'r ymylon, a mi fydd angen penderfyniadau a deddfwriaeth i ddiogelu rôl y gwasanaethau cyhoeddus, a chynnwys Prydeinig a Chymreig o fewn y bydysawd rhyngwladol newydd yma.

Yes, I understand that, but the issue is that there is so much content on Netflix, and even though they talk about British examples of what they commission, such as The Crown, the vast majority of funding is invested in the United States. Phil discussed this earlier on; the prominence of British services on the new platforms within social media. We are being pushed to the margins, and we will need to make decisions and legislation, perhaps, to safeguard the role of the public services, and UK and Welsh content within that international arena, as it were. 

11:20

Ocê, te. Symud ymlaen at gyllid, a David Melding. 

Okay. Moving on to funding, David Melding. 

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. I wonder where we are in terms of the target of getting to £30 million for English language tv funding for Wales. And, if we look at the annual report, the figures are very difficult to interpret; I think this is an accountancy thing probably, the way various fixed costs are applied and the like. So, the £30 million target, as I understand it, is commissioning spend, basically. Is that correct? 

So, yes, and I apologise—there are different accounting processes. So, the £30 million that we talked about reaching as a target is a combination of the direct commissioning spend i.e. how much Nick, our commissioner, has to spend with the independent sector and our newsrooms and sports services, plus things like playing out, the transmission, the marketing of the content, the cost of his team and various other local overheads. 

But it's not like notional use of your physical assets, then, in terms of—

There will be an allocation within it to office space, and all those sorts of things.

But where we are against that £30 million target is we're now at £32 million, so we've exceeded the target that we set in terms of spend. The real—. If Nick was in the room, our commissioner, what he'd say is the only real measure of whether the investment is real or not is whether he has more to spend on commissions. And the truth is, from where we were two and a half years ago, he now has 70 per cent—we said 50 per cent; he now currently has 70 per cent more to spend directly on programme commissions than he had two and a half years ago. That's because as well as the new money that we secured from the corporate centre as part of the charter discussions, we've also been able to re-prioritise internally. 

To give you just a feel for that, it means that, compared to two and a half years ago, we're spending two and a half times what we used to spend on the independent sector now than we were two and a half years ago. It's an extraordinary change, and people said, 'Oh, it'll go all internally to the BBC'; 95 per cent of the new investment has gone straight out into the commercial independent sector. 

So, the £32 million is a 70 per cent increase, because you—

No. 

All right, so what is that 70 per cent you're pointing to? 

The direct commissioning spend that Nick has, which is a smaller amount than £32 million—it's the cash that he has in his hand to directly spend. It's not the cost of playout or transmission. 

That's coming in at about £25 million in direct commissioning spend, and we were at £13 million, £14 million three years ago. 

That's helpful. So, it's obviously a substantial increase. 

And if I can pay tribute as well to the work of BBC Wales, I think that money, that additional money, has been well spent, which accounts for things like Keeping Faith and Hidden and other things, which have taken off on iPlayer. So, it's been a good investment. I would caution all of us to keep a wary eye for the future, not because the BBC would want to undermine the excellent work done by BBC Wales, but because of a mid-term review and the over-75s, which might put us in a quite different place. 

Okay. It's very apposite, actually—it brings me on to the second part of my question, and that's really what return we're getting on the investment. I do commend the BBC in that you did set out what you thought the new funding would enable you to achieve in February 2017. That focus on outcomes, I think, is very good practice. I think the headline one was to deliver more than 130 hours of additional programming each year across the BBC networks in Wales, and that at least half of the additional programming should be broadcast on the UK network. Where are we against those targets? 

So, just to—. Let me deal with both points separately. On the issue of the number of hours we thought we would produce with the new money, we've produced fewer, and the reason we've produced fewer is because we've focused our spend more particularly within the drama and comedy spaces. It has much more cut through. It has a much longer life with audiences in terms of both broadcast and iPlayer. So, our tariffs—the amount we're spending per programme—have increased more than we thought they would three years ago. So, the question of less investment is that we've deliberately commissioned fewer hours than the 120 we projected three years ago, and that speaks to what we're learning about how iPlayer works, and what performs on iPlayer. The other thing that—

11:25

I think it's about 70, 80 hours in terms of incremental hours, so it's about—

But more expensive hours, that's what—

No, I understand that. It's helpful for us to request more information on this, because my figure says it was 130 that was outlined as a target in 2017. But, then, I welcome the approach, in that you obviously feel it's justified. So, we can hear your full explanation.

Well, the second point, which was that we expected half the hours, of new hours, to transfer on to network—we've exceeded. So, in the last 18 months, we've had 32 content projects at BBC Wales that have migrated over on to network screens. If you just take the last couple of weeks, we've seen the Gareth Thomas documentary on HIV immediately transferring over to BBC One. We've seen live coverage of the Cardiff half marathon on Sunday morning live across BBC Two on network. So, more and more of our projects—partly a reflection of the additional investment we've put into our projects—means that the move over on to the broadcast channels of BBC One and BBC Two, or BBC Four on network has become much easier.

So, are you likely to increase your target, from 50 per cent to even more if you're doing so well?

I'd like to see it all transfer. I'd never set myself a target of 100 per cent, because that's kind of defying my own failure. But the ambition, and, I think, the confidence in believing our content is good enough and relevant enough to be seen right across the UK—it's should be where we're at. 

And this reflects the choice, once it's rolled out, to really go for the quality of the—

Yes. And, David, the other thing that's happened, and it's partly a function of the Ofcom hours quotas that have been introduced, is that we've seen a lot more co-commissioning with our network colleagues. So, Keeping Faith, series 2, for example. Yes, we invested locally with our money, but we also saw the network make contributions. So, that partnering with network over the last 18 months has been in a different place from where it's been historically, because we've got money to spend, and it makes a difference. 

Okay. I think we'd welcome some more information on this. Perhaps now is not the time, and I do accept it could be a very reasonable, and, indeed, a welcome thing that you've done in shifting the focus from a quantity target to a quality one—

Given that we're saying that, actually, that original volume target is not what we're now targeting, it might be useful if we could get a note to the committee to explain the thinking behind that. 

I think so, yes. It's fine to shift what you thought in 2017; it moves with time. And we want innovation and adaptability, so I'm not going to give you a hard time for that, but I think we would welcome that evidence.

I think there is a real emphasis, as Rhodri has said at the very beginning, in the whole of television now on impact—how impactful is your programme, as opposed to the old, linear, filling the hours. So, the change is inevitable, I think, in emphasis. 

I think Phil used a very interesting phrase in the last session he was giving about looking at stuff on the beach and the tsunami is coming. A lot of these regulatory structures are looking incredibly dated now. We see it with the 520 hours that we deliver to S4C. They're such 'of an age', of a broadcast age, that has moved on. And I think there's quite a lot of regulatory mechanisms that will need modernisation.

Let me move on to the licence fee—obviously a challenging issue. You said that you wanted to develop, with UK Government, firm principles to guide the negotiations and discussions. Well, we must be coming close to where the cycle starts in terms of the discussions, because I think the new licence fee is in 2022—have I got that right?

Yes, it's a five-year review period.

The principle that we would want to put firmly down is that whenever the licence fee is discussed next, it has to be a public consultation, and it has to be a discussion with the Assembly, with the Senedd—[Laughter.]—

—with Scotland, Northern Ireland. So, a public discussion, because the last two settlements, in 2010-11 and then the 2016-17 one, were really done behind closed doors. They were done mainly by the Chancellor. So, in the first 'raid', shall I call it, on the licence fee, we took on the World Service, we took on a lot of broadband, and the bulk of S4C's finances. Now, you could argue that those are broadcast-related issues and they don't sit too uncomfortably within the licence fee. But when it comes to the over-75s, that's a social policy, and it's quite a different thing to be asking everybody's licence fee to pay for a social policy. And this is not to put one generation against the other at all. If we had persevered with the full £750 million, which that would have cost, I think it would have been roughly about £34 from everybody's licence that would have gone to pay for the over-75s. You may say that benefits the over-75s, but, in fact, it doesn't, because they are getting £34 less content, and they are watching more. This is something that plays to people who are lonely and who depend on television. So, they would be getting less content. Everybody would be getting less content.

So, we sat—and I can't tell you the number of hours that we spent on various models. I was grey before, but I would have been greyer—[Laughter.] There were lots of models that we could have gone with, but in the end we decided we were not setting the Government's social methodology. So, leaving it at 75, which had been the normal cut-off, and also thinking that there was already in existence a measure for determining who was the poorest in our society, and that was the pension credit. So, we came down that those people who were eligible for pension credit would get a free tv licence and everybody else would contribute.

11:30

Sorry, David, can Mick just come in on this directly?

You're presenting a very rational analysis of the issue of the over-75s licence fee issue. The problem is, it isn't a rational approach, it is a politicisation of the licence fee and using it for a political purpose. Isn't that really the crux of the problem now? You're caught—you're really the sort of filling in the sandwich as far as this is concerned, but presenting a rational argument is certainly one that carries a lot of weight with the public. But the actual solution to it is actually in another place, really, isn't it?

Well, I think the solution goes back to what I was saying to David just then, that when the next round comes along, there has to be a rational widespread public discussion about the value of the services that the BBC offers its public and the cost of those services and what the public is likely to bear as a cost. It cannot be something that is done privately. In fact, it was even I think slightly undermining the Secretary of State for DCMS, who was having a public consultation at the time about the charter but the financing of that charter had already been done. So, next time, the two have to go in tandem.

I have to say that we're now focusing on the over-75s issue, but just to go back to the clarity of the process and this transparency, I presume in Wales that's particularly important because of the S4C situation, and that where you are dealing with S4C you will apply those principles, just as you hope the Government will apply, in general, this the consultation and transparent approach.

I think it's important to understand the accountability lines of two independent broadcasters. S4C, despite being financed through the licence fee, is not accountable to the BBC, it goes through to DCMS. It will have its own line to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, it will have its own line to the Secretary of State for DCMS, and it will discuss its own needs. Indeed, in the current Act, it says that the Secretary of State must satisfy himself or herself that their needs are met adequately. The BBC will also be making representations for its own licence fee to the DCMS, and to the Secretary of State. So, we’re talking about two different things here: the financing of S4C, which has an accountability line, and financing the BBC. But I will put it to you that if the BBC gets a fair settlement with which it feels that it can live and provide services, then that will definitely have an effect on the kind of partnership that we can offer in the long term to S4C, for example, the quality of our 10 hours a week, the different interfaces that iPlayer might develop, the personalisation of iPlayer. All these would be extras that we could offer the partnership, but they would—I’m not saying that they would necessarily be the things we could curtail, but any squeeze, any further squeeze, on the BBC’s finances has a relative knock-on effect on the partnership. So, I think it's in all our interests to have a good, just settlement for both parties.

11:35

Finally from me, then, to go back to the issue of the over-75s—I have to say, reading the runes and all the messaging that seems to be coming through the various channels, I suppose, that get used in these situations anyway, that all these messages from the BBC seem to be preparing us for a shift to pension credit, certainly, but for everyone over pension age. And I think that was one of the models that was tested. So, why was that not pursued in the end?

In the end we decided that, although it would be very painful to have to undertake savings of £250 million, which is the over-75 pension credit cost, if we extended that to over-65 or over-67, that would be an even bigger figure. So, we remained with the 75 and with pension credit. I hesitate to use the word 'manageable', because it’s not manageable—it will be painful, but at least it is something that, in comparison to the full £750 million, we can achieve by paring down some services.

Because I have to say I’d formed the firm impression that the preferred model in the consultation phase was to go to everyone of pensionable age but on pension credit. So, when did that shift to this tighter—?

There were a lot of models. We asked Sir Gus O'Donnell—who used to be the Cabinet Secretary; he now runs a research foundation—to develop lots of models, which we shared in a public consultation, which was very widely taken up. I think, obviously, in a world where you had enough money, remaining with the current free model for everybody over 75 would have been a preferred model, but, actually, when you came down to measuring everybody's responses, most people recognised that things had to change. And so, we came down to the two factors: one was that we remain with the existing age, because we didn't feel happy about changing ages, because that had been set by a democratic process, and, secondly, we didn't feel happy about having another cut-off, say £15,000 or something, which would be arbitrary and provided by us, rather than following a standard model, which was the pension credit model.

Okay. We have to move on, sorry, we're behind time. Delyth Jewell.

Diolch. Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn am gynyrchiadau rhwydwaith—dau gwestiwn, achos dwi'n meddwl eu bod nhw'n gysylltiedig. Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn am beth oedd effaith gofyniad oriau newydd Ofcom, a hefyd os byddech chi'n gallu dweud wrthym ni pa wersi sydd wedi eu dysgu o beth oedd wedi digwydd ar ddechrau'r flwyddyn gyda Pitching In.

Thank you. I wanted to talk about network productions—two questions, because I think they are linked questions. I wanted to talk about the impact of the new hours requirement from Ofcom, and also if you could tell us what lessons have been learned from what happened at the beginning of the year with Pitching In.

Ocê. So, ar yr oriau, rŷn ni ond wedi cael blwyddyn ers bod yr oriau wedi dod yn un o'r llinynnau mesur ar gyfer y cyfraniad rhwydwaith. Dwi'n meddwl ei fod wedi gwneud nifer o bethau yn syth: mae o wedi hybu mwy o drafodaeth rhwng comisiynwyr Llundain a chomisiynwyr Cymru, achos mae yna awydd i sicrhau bod yna ddigon o oriau. Y pryder oedd gen i pan ddaeth yr oriau i mewn oedd y byddai hynny’n cyfyngu’r uchelgais o ran drama. Mae drama’n gostus, rŷch chi’n cynhyrchu llai o oriau, ond ar gyfer y diwydiant ac ar gyfer sgiliau, mae’n gwneud cyfraniad mawr. Y gwir yw eleni—a dwi ddim yn siŵr os gwnaiff o gynnal—ond yn sicr ar sail y flwyddyn gyntaf, yn ogystal ag oriau ychwanegol, yn ffeithiol a chyd-gomisiynu rhwng Llundain a Chymru, rŷm ni hefyd wedi gweld prosiectau mawr drama’n cyrraedd Cymru. So, y rhaglenni rŷm ni wedi trafod eisoes ac, wrth gwrs, His Dark Materials, cynhyrchiad Bad Wolf sydd yn lansio’n fuan.

So, ar hyn o bryd, buaswn i’n dweud, dwi ddim yn gwybod beth ydy’r Gymraeg am ‘cherry on the bun’, ond dyna sut mae’n teimlo ar hyn o bryd. Rŷm ni wedi cael mwy o amrywiaeth gomisiynu, mwy o ystod ac amrywiaeth o raglenni, gan gynnwys ffeithiol. Mae ffeithiol yn bwysig iawn i’r sector, ond hefyd rŷm ni wedi gallu cynnal a chynyddu maint y cynyrchiadau drama yng Nghymru.

Okay. So, in terms of the hours, we've only had a year since the hours became a yardstick for the network contribution. I think it has done a number of things straight away: it has encouraged more discussion between commissioners in London and commissioners in Wales, because there is a desire to ensure that there are sufficient hours. The concern I had when the hours were introduced is that that would limit ambition in terms of drama, because drama is expensive and you produce fewer hours, but for the industry and for skills, it makes a huge contribution. The truth is, this year—and I'm not sure if this will be sustained—but certainly on the basis of the first year, as well as additional hours, factual and joint commissioning between London and Wales, we have also seen major drama projects arriving in Wales. Some programmes we've already discussed and, of course, there's also His Dark Materials, the Bad Wolf production that will be launching soon.

So, at the moment, I'm not sure what the Welsh term is for 'cherry on the bun', but that's how it feels at the moment. We've had a great diversity in terms of commissioning, a greater range of programming, including factual. And factual is very important to the sector, but we have also been able to maintain and increase the scale of drama production in Wales.

11:40

Ar Pitching In, roedd o'n brofiad difyr. Buaswn i’n disgrifio fanna rhyw, efallai tri grŵp: roedd yna ryw 220,000 a oedd yn mwynhau’r gyfres ac yn gwylio’r gyfres; roedd yna griw o bobl oedd ddim yn hoff iawn o’r rhaglen; a hefyd, dwi’n meddwl roedd yna rai oedd yn teimlo pam ein bod ni’n adlewyrchu diwylliant llai Cymreig, ac roeddwn i’n fwy anghyffyrddus gyda hynny. Dwi’n meddwl bod Cymru’n lle amrywiol. Mae yna nifer o ddiwylliannau ar draws Cymru, felly, os yw’r feirniadaeth ynglŷn â safon, wrth gwrs, mae pawb â’i farn ar hynny a dim issue. Dwi yn meddwl ei fod yn hynod bwysig bod darlledwr cenedlaethol yn adlewyrchu’r holl amrywiaeth o ddiwylliannau sy’n bodoli yn y wlad—

On Pitching In, well, it was an interesting experience. I think there were three groups: there were some 220,000 people who enjoyed the series and viewed the series; there was a group of people who weren't particularly fond of the programme; and there were also some people who were questioning why we were reflecting a less Welsh culture, and I was more uncomfortable with that. I think Wales is a diverse country. There are a number of cultures within Wales, so if the criticism is on quality, then everyone will have their view on that and I have no issue with that. I do think it's extremely important that a national broadcaster does reflect the whole variety and diversity of cultures that exist within the country—

Ie, buaswn i’n cytuno gyda chi—mae’n flin gen i i dorri ar draws. Beth roeddwn i’n golygu yn enwedig ar hynny oedd—a fel hyn roedd rhai pobl wedi’i weld e—y gwahaniaeth o ran pethau sydd yn 'made in Wales' a’r pethau lle mae Cymru bron yn rhywbeth lle mae pethau wedi’u lleoli, ond eto, roedd lot o’r prif gymeriadau ddim o Gymru. Rwy’n cymryd y pwynt yn llwyr ynglŷn â’r effaith i—

Yes, I would agree with you—I'm sorry to interrupt. What I meant on that in particular was—as some people saw it—the difference in terms of things that are 'made in Wales' and things where Wales is almost just somewhere where things are located, but a lot of the major characters aren't from Wales. I take the point in terms of the effect—

Ond dwi'n teimlo'n gryf am hwn. Os oes unrhyw un yn teithio i sir Benfro neu i arfordir gogledd Cymru, mae yna lwyth o lefydd lle y byddech chi’n cwrdd â nifer fawr o fewnfudwyr o Loegr ac mae ganddyn nhw’r hawl i gael eu hadlewyrchu ar sgrin yng Nghymru, yn ogystal â phobl sydd wedi byw yma trwy gydol eu hoes.

I feel strongly about this. If anyone travels to Pembrokeshire or to the north Wales coast, there are numerous places where you would meet many people who had moved there from England and they have every right to be reflected on the screen in Wales as do people who have lived here throughout their lives.

Oes, wrth gwrs. Ond, rwy’n meddwl—a dwi’n gwybod does dim lot o amser gyda ni—oherwydd roedd hwnna’n fath o, beth bynnag ydy flagship yn Gymraeg—

Of course. But, I think—and I know that we don't have much time—because that was a sort of flagship—whatever that is in Welsh—

Ond doedd o ddim yn flagship, achos, os cymrwn ni’r flwyddyn ddiwethaf, cawsom ni wyth awr o Keeping Faith ar BBC One yng Nghymru ac ar y rhwydwaith. Cawsom ni wyth awr o Hidden wedi’i leoli yng ngogledd-orllewin Cymru, ac roedd Pitching In yn rhaglen daytime. Fe wnaethom ni ei symud e i oriau brig yng Nghymru, ond yn Brydeinig—. Felly, doedd o ddim yn gynrychiolaeth o’n holl arlwy drama ni. Roedd o’n eithriad i’r model lle rŷm ni'n chwilio—. Mae Vox, cwmni lleol sy’n cynhyrchu Keeping Faith, Severn Screen sy’n cynhyrchu Hidden, a dŷn ni ar fin comisiynu drama o Little Door, cwmni newydd annibynnol yng Nghymru hefyd. Felly, roedd o’n eithriad, y model hwnnw, ond yn sicr, doedd y farn ddim yn unfrydol ar Pitching In a byddwn i’n derbyn hynny.

Well, it wasn't a flagship because if you look at the last year, we had eight hours of Keeping Faith on BBC One in Wales and on network. We had eight hours of Hidden located in the north-west of Wales, and Pitching In was a daytime programme essentially. We moved it to peak hours in Wales, but UK-wide it was daytime. So, it wasn't representative of all our drama output. It was an exception to the model where—. Vox, the local company that produces Keeping Faith, Severn Screen, which produces Hidden, and we're about to commission a drama from Little Door, a new independent company in Wales. So, it was an exception to that model, but certainly views on Pitching In weren't unanimous and I would accept that.

Allaf i jest ychwanegu ychydig? Mae efallai'n dangos i ni'r cymhlethdod sydd yna mewn gair bach syml fel 'portreadu'—'portrayal'. Dŷn ni'n trio darganfod methodoleg i'w wneud o. Beth yn union mae pobl yn ei olygu wrtho fo? Ydy un person mewn drama neu ydy lleoliad yn ddigon, ynteu oes rhaid iddo fo gynrychioli math o Gymreictod? Mae’n gwestiwn diddorol a chymhleth, dwi’n meddwl.

Can I just add to that? It perhaps shows the complexity that there is in a simple word like 'portrayal'. We're trying to find a methodology for that. What exactly do people mean by 'portrayal'? Is one person in a drama or one location enough, or does it have to represent a kind of Welsh identity? It's an interesting question and a complex one as well.

Dwi'n meddwl taw dyna beth fyddwn ni'n symud ymlaen ato fe nawr, so diolch yn fawr.

I think we're going to move on to that now, so thank you.

Dim problem.

No problem.

Mae'n rhaid inni sylweddoli hefyd fod yna bobl y tu ôl i'r pethau yma. Rwy'n credu bod lot o bobl a oedd yn rhan o Pitching In wedi cael bach o backlash personol, a dwi ddim yn credu bod unrhyw un ohonom ni eisiau hwnna, achos maen nhw'n gweithio yn y sector ac yn deilwng i'r sector. Felly rwy'n credu bod hwnna'n bwysig i roi ar y record hefyd, ein bod ni'n ddiolchgar am gyfraniad y bobl greadigol hynny. Rhianon Passmore.

We also have to realise that there are people behind these things. I think a lot of people who were part of Pitching In faced a bit of a personal backlash and I don't think that any one of us would want that, because they're working in the sector and they deserve to be there. So, I think it's important to put that on the record as well, that we're very grateful for the contribution of those creatives. Rhianon Passmore.

Diolch, Chair. And I think you're absolutely right: what does portrayal mean? I think there needs to be a bigger definition and it's obviously very important in terms of this committee's work; it's a major theme. You've mentioned numerous times this morning the effect of globalisation, the effect of the impact of being able to work across universality in terms of digital platforming. Do you feel, in regard to portrayal, that there is—and caveat what we've just said—but do you feel that there is any tension or dichotomy in terms of that dual mandate, or do you feel that we can do both? If we look at Scandi drama, et cetera, et cetera, do you feel that we've got the mix right in terms of being able to reach across globally the digital platforms, and equally be able to represent Wales and all of the different communities of Wales within that—and we are very mixed? Or, is it an impossible task?

11:45

It's an exciting task. It's not easy. But, I suppose I'm an optimist. I think that the success of Welsh drama—and I call out S4C's contribution in this as well, because this isn't just a BBC story. I think that the success of Welsh drama globally is something that we should be proud of. Sometimes you get into these binary conversations about: can you do real, authentic portrayal and sell into the international markets? Yes, you can. You can do it confidently. If you look at some of the biggest hits that Netflix and other US streamers are seeing, among American audiences, a lot of those are British dramas. I don't see that there's some great disconnect here. I think we can, to use the phrase again, we can have the cherry and the bun. We can get it right locally and also enjoy real international profile, and I think that that's what we should be striving for.  

Okay. In regard to what you touched upon earlier, things are shifting very quickly in terms of viewing habits, and we are all very well aware of that. There is an element of catch-up to this, but I don't think that we've experienced it at such a scale before. Do you feel that you have the capacity within Wales and within the BBC to have exactly what you need to be ahead of the curve in regard to those digital platforms, which we now have to be absolutely ahead of the game on? 

No, I have genuine concerns. I have talked publicly about the role of social media. I think that we're—. I think that Government, regulators, have been late to the role and the depth of engagement that's going on with social media and how you protect what you might call the civic good within that space. We've seen a number of high-profile incidents that have revealed very worrying things about how those platforms operate. But, how you secure a space for public service content—however you want to describe that—within those incredibly powerful platforms is, I think, something that we should all be focused on. 

I don't know why, but people write off broadcasting and say that broadcasting will be dead in five or 10 years. I don't buy that. I don't believe that. I think broadcasting will remain incredibly important for a substantial part of the audience. But, there is no doubt that there is a generational change going on.

We tend to focus on the things that we understand. So, I'm sure we'll have a conversation about how many hours of news there are on Radio Wales. There is, as Mark Thompson said, a tsunami going on, and it's a massive behavioural shift. Unless public service thinking is embedded within those new platforms, then whether we think of Welshness or Britishness, or however we can perceive our cultural identity, it is in danger of being marginalised within those spaces, and I think that we should all be alive to that.

And potentially lost because of that, in terms of the trees and the forest, et cetera. We touched upon this conversation earlier, obviously. But, in that regard, what would you say to us as a committee in regard to that particular focus? You mentioned Ofcom and legislation earlier. 

Well, let's unpack it a little bit. It's very, very important to maintain the finances for BBC Wales, because without that financing and additional commissioning, the ability to cut through is diminished. We all know that cutting through requires verve and imagination, but it also requires a certain amount of money—more money than you would spend on daytime—

But, in terms of protecting the raison d'être and everything that we all talk about a lot within that changing landscape, and we've touched a little bit about potential.

11:50

The points Rhodri made right at the beginning of this: within the BBC family, as it were, it's not just about protecting BBC Wales; BBC Wales also profits from the research and innovation of the whole BBC. So, for example, being on iPlayer is a global platform. It's a platform, not a global platform—it's a British platform that competes with the global players.

So what needs to happen to be able to maintain our ethos and actually deliver what we all want to deliver in this changing landscape?

I think there are a number of different strands. There is a regulatory strand, so I think we know that there are new media marketplaces where substantial amounts of consumers and audiences are consuming, and they are largely unregulated. So there is a regulatory governance question that any country, any nation that wants to ensure its civic conversation can continue needs to focus on. There's the funding question there that Elan has underlined. I think there's also a challenge on us. We send you the management review, and there are some terrific things in there, and some great successes that we'd love to talk to you about for hours—

I know we haven't. But we also need to continue to reinvent and rethink the way we deliver our services. It's quite easy in the broadcasting space to keep going around the same wheel. My gut is that, in the next five to 10 years, the way that BBC Wales delivers its public services will be almost unrecognisable from where we were a few years ago, and that's because, if we're serious about the principle of universality and reaching all audiences in Wales rather than the ones we're very good at reaching, then we're going to have to think about new ways of connecting, and being in places where we're not at the moment. We've talked about Radio 1 and Radio 2 ops and all that sort of stuff over the years; if we can't do that it may be that we have to look at extending our own radio portfolios. It may mean that we need to be more assertive and more confident in the social media space in terms of what we're producing—

So my question earlier, in regard to capacity within the BBC—and I must declare an interest as a former BBC broadcasting council member—in terms of that capacity, are you fit for purpose? And I'll leave it there, Chair.

I think we are in a process of rapid change within the BBC, but however quickly we're going, we're going to have to accelerate.

Could I also say, though, it's not just us being fit for purpose, it's the regulator being fit for purpose, too? Because the regulator was set up in a linear age, and the definition of our competitors—. HTV, BBC and Channel 4 are seen as in competition, but as public service broadcasters in Britain we're really in competition with all the stuff that comes into people's homes, and those are not within the regulator's remit. They're not seen as competitors, and yet they're consumed, especially by the under-35s, at a huge rate. So I think we've got to look at the overall picture over the next couple of years.

That was the real sadness with local commercial radio. In the public discussions we have we tend to focus on the BBCs and the S4Cs, the large, publicly funded organisations, and yet there were stations that were doing a public service role. There were 0.5 million people in Wales coming in to those commercial stations, and you might not consider it serious all-speech news, but it was doing a news job, and it's gone.

I'm not here to criticise. These are things that are precious and sometimes we lose them without realising that they're important.

These are shared losses because we're talking about, now, a regulation that requires one news item per hour. One.

We'll come on to radio.

Gwnaethom ni ddechrau yn hwyr, so gwnawn ni fynd dros amser tipyn bach, os yw hwnna'n iawn gyda chi. Dwi jest yn mynd i ofyn tipyn o gwestiynau ar newyddion. A ydych chi'n gallu rhoi diweddariad i ni ar y gohebwyr democratiaeth newydd? Yn sicr, doeddwn i ddim yn ffan, a dwi'n dal ddim yn siŵr os ydw i'n ffan. Barn bersonol yw hon. Weithiau, dwi'n gweld diffyg dadansoddi yn digwydd. Dyw hwn ddim i feirniadu pobl unigol, ond mae'n rhyw fath o asesiad o beth dwi'n gweld o edrych dros y sbectrwm. Hefyd, gan ei fod am ddemocratiaeth leol, beth rŷn ni'n ffeindio weithiau yw eu bod nhw'n mynd at gynghorydd ond dydyn nhw byth yn dod at Aelodau Cynulliad, achos eu bod nhw'n diffinio eu hunain yn lleol yn y ffordd mwyaf cul o'r diffiniad. Felly, a ydych chi'n mynd i wneud rhyw fath o asesiad o sut mae'r gohebwyr yma'n gweithio, sut maen nhw'n gallu esblygu a sut maen nhw'n gallu cael eu harfogi i deimlo eu bod nhw, efallai, yn gallu gwneud mwy na'r hyn sy'n digwydd ar hyn o bryd?

We did start late, so we'll go a little bit over time, if that's okay with you. I'm just going to ask questions on news, and just ask you whether you could give us an update on the new democratic correspondents. Certainly, I wasn't a fan, and I'm still not sure if I am a fan. This is a personal opinion. Sometimes I see a lack of analysis. This isn't to criticise individuals, but it's an assessment that I've made from looking across the spectrum. Also, because it's local democracy, what we see sometimes is they go to a councillor and they never come to Assembly Members, because they define themselves as being local in the narrowest definition of that word. So are you going to undertake an assessment of how these correspondents are working, how they can evolve, how they can, perhaps, be equipped to feel that they can do more than is currently done?

11:55

A bod yn onest, pan glywais i am y syniad yn gyntaf, roedd gen i gwestiynau. Y gwir yw, yng Nghymru, mae yna 12 o ohebwyr bellach o dan y strwythur. Maen nhw'n cynhyrchu rhyw 500 o straeon y mis, ac mae bron pob ffynhonnell cyfryngol yn trwyddedu'r straeon yna. Ac yn y rhan fwyaf o gynghorau lle mae yna ohebwyr, doedden nhw heb weld gohebwyr am flynyddoedd. Felly, gallaf i fynd trwy'r straeon, ond mae yna ddwsinau o straeon. Roedd stori am ysgol Charlotte Church yn ddiweddar ar y BBC; roedd yn stori fawr ar y BBC am gynlluniau i greu ysgol yn ei chartref hi. Byddem ni byth wedi gweld y stori yna heblaw bod y gohebwyr yna yn y cynghorau. Mae'n gwestiwn da ynglŷn ag a ydyn nhw'n teimlo'n hyderus i fynd at y Cynulliad—at y Senedd, mae'n ddrwg gen i—

To be honest, when I heard about the concept first of all, I had my own questions. The truth is that, in Wales, there are 12 correspondents now within this structure, and they produce some 500 stories per month. And virtually every media source licenses those stories. And in most of the councils where there are reporters, they hadn't seen a reporter for many years. And I can go through some of the stories, but there are dozens of them. There was a story recently about the Charlotte Church school, which was a huge story on the BBC. She had plans to open a school in her own home. We wouldn't have seen that story if those correspondents hadn't been in the councils. Now it's a good question as to whether they feel confident or empowered to go to Assembly Members—or Members of the Senedd, I'm sorry—

—ac a ydyn nhw'n teimlo'n hyderus i fynd a thrafod tu hwnt i'r cynghorau. Ond, jest i fod yn glir, un o'r rheolau gyda'r gohebwyr yma yw eu bod nhw'n gweithio gyda'r cynghorau a'u bod nhw'n aros yn y cynghorau, achos roedd yn lefel o ddemocratiaeth yng Nghymru oedd bron wedi diflannu'n gyfan gwbl o ran gohebu.

—and whether they feel confident in going beyond the councils. But, to be clear, one of the rules with these correspondents is that they do work with councils and that they remain with the councils, because it was a level of democracy in Wales that had almost fallen off the radar in terms of reporting. 

Ond mae nuances i bethau, onid oes e?

But there are nuances to things, aren't there?

Wrth gwrs.

Of course. 

Er nad yw Aelod Cynulliad yn gynghorydd, mae gan Aelod Cynulliad ddiddordeb mewn materion sy'n digwydd ar y micro level yna. Felly, rwy'n credu weithiau ei fod e'n cael ei ddiffinio'n rhy dynn. Dyna fy mhersbectif i. Dwi ddim yn gwybod am Aelodau eraill. 

Even though an Assembly Member isn't a councillor, an Assembly Member has an interest in the issues that are happening on that micro level. So I think it's sometimes defined too narrowly. That's my own perspective. I don't know whether other Members are of that view. 

Wrth gwrs, mae o'n falans, achos un o'r pethau amlwg oedd bod yna fwy o ohebu ynglŷn â'r Cynulliad nag oedd ynglŷn â'r cynghorau. Ac er bod y cynghorau wedi newid eu rôl dros y blynyddoedd, mae yna ddyletswyddau pwysig—

Of course, it's a balance, because one of the things was that there was more coverage of the Assembly than there was of the councils. And although councils have changed their role over the years, there are important duties—

Pryd bydd yna asesiad, gan ein bod ni'n—

When will there be an assessment, as we're—

Wel, mae yna asesiad parhaol. Buaswn i'n meddwl bod y prif asesiad yn mynd i ddigwydd i fyny at y mid-term licence fee review, gan ei fod yn gyfraniad o'r drwydded. Ond, buaswn i'n dweud, ar lefel weithredol yng Nghymru, rydym ni fel stafell newyddion yn elwa'n fawr o'r system, a dwi'n gwybod bod y papurau newydd a'r cwmniau masnachol hefyd. 

There's an ongoing assessment. But I think the main assessment will happen up to the mid-term licence fee review, because it was a contribution from the licence fee. But I think at an operational level in Wales, we as a news service do benefit hugely from the system, and I know that the newspapers and commercial companies do too. 

We don't have time, sorry, Rhianon.

Jest o ran—a rŷn ni wastad yn ei drafod e—y rhwydwaith newyddion, a ydych chi'n gallu esbonio i ni a ydyw e wedi esblygu, a ydyw e wedi datblygu o ran yr hyn sydd ar y rhwydwaith?

Just in terms of—and we always talk about it—the news network, could you just explain to us whether it has evolved, whether it's developed in terms of what is on the network?

Mae yna wastad enghreifftiau lle mae Today neu rywun wedi anghofio'r gwahaniaethau datganoledig. Dwi'n meddwl bod yr issues yna'n brin, ond dwi ddim yn amau eu bod nhw'n dal i fodoli. Beth ddywedwn i yw, os edrychwn ni ar yr wythnosau neu'r misoedd diwethaf yma, efallai'r gyfrinach fawr i gael mwy o Gymru ar y rhwydweithiau newyddion yw bod ein straeon ni yn dda. Roedd stori dros y penwythnos ynglŷn â puppy farms gan y rhaglen BBC Wales Investigates, roedd stori HIV ynglŷn â Gareth Thomas—mae'r rheini'n newyddiaduraeth wreiddiol gan BBC Cymru. Felly dwi yn meddwl, wrth drafod y systemau addysgiadol o fewn yr ystafell newyddion yn Llundain ac a ydyn nhw'n sensitif i bethau, y peth sy'n gwneud y fwyaf o wahaniaeth yw lle rŷn ni'n datblygu straeon ac mae'r rhwydwaith yn gweld gwerth rheini ac yn eu cymryd nhw. Ac mae yna lwyth o enghreifftiau yn ddiweddar. 

There are always examples where Today or somebody else has forgotten to differentiate in terms of devolved issues. I think those are few and far between, but I don't doubt that they still happen. What I would say is, if we look at the last few months and weeks, perhaps the great secret in getting more coverage of Wales on the news networks is that our stories are interesting and attractive. There was a story over the weekend about the puppy farms, which was a BBC Wales Investigates programme, and then there was the HIV story with Gareth Thomas—that is original BBC Cymru Wales journalism. So I do think, in discussing the educational system within the newsrooms in London and whether they're sensitive to these issues, what makes the greatest difference is where we develop stories and journalism and the network sees the value of those and takes them up. There are all sorts of examples of that recently.

Ocê. Y cwestiwn olaf gen i, achos mae'n rhaid ei ofyn e: gwnaethon ni gael cryn storm gyda Question Time yn y Senedd a doedd dim cwestiwn ynglŷn â Chymru yn rhan o'r drafodaeth hynny, ac roedd pobl wedi cysylltu gyda ni yn eithaf ffyrnig yn dweud, 'Wel, dylai fod yna un cwestiwn o leiaf wedi bod.' Beth yw'ch barn chi ar hynny, neu a oes modd newid hynny yn y dyfodol, os gwelwch yn dda?

Okay. And a final question from me, because I do have to ask it: we had quite a storm with Question Time in the Senedd, and no questions were asked about Wales as part of that debate. And people got in touch with us to express their views that there should have been at least one question asked. What's your opinion on that? Can that be changed in future?

Wel, os rwy'n cofio'n iawn, roedd o o fewn deuddydd i benderfyniad y Supreme Court o ran—dwi ddim yn gwybod beth yw prorogation yn Gymraeg, ond roedd e yng nghyd-destun hynny. Felly, roedd y rhan fwyaf o'r drafodaeth ynglŷn â Brexit, ail refferendwm a phenderfyniad y llys. A ydy'r rheini'n berthnasol i Gymru? Buaswn i'n dweud eu bod nhw'n hynod berthnasol i Gymru. A oedden nhw'n lleol o ran dim ond yn berthnasol i Gymru? Wrth gwrs nad oedden nhw. Ond, yng nghyd-destun maint y stori Brexit hefyd, a’i phwysigrwydd i bob cymuned yn y Deyrnas Gyfunol, dwi ddim yn siŵr bod yr holi wedi mynd o’i le. 

Well, if I recall, it was within two days of the decision of the Supreme Court. I don't know what 'prorogation' is in Welsh, but it was in the context of the Supreme Court's decision on prorogation, so most of the discussion was on Brexit, a second referendum and the Supreme Court's decision. Are those relevant to Wales? I would say that they are exceptionally pertinent to Wales. Were they local in terms of only being relevant to Wales? Well, of course, they weren't. But, given the scale of the Brexit story and its importance to all communities within the UK, I don't think there was much wrong with the questioning.

12:00

Iawn. Byddai rhai ohonon ni’n anghytuno. Os ydych chi’n dod i Gymru, byddai wedi bod yn neis i gael cwestiwn am Gymru. Rŷn ni’n symud ymlaen at radio. John Griffiths.

Right. Some of us might disagree. If you're coming to Wales, it would have been nice to have a question about Wales. We are moving on to radio. John Griffiths.

Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. In terms of the morning radio breakfast show, the format has changed recently, hasn't it? I think some of us would prefer more—I don't know, 'serious', perhaps, is a pejorative word, but I would say serious news coverage and current affairs reporting as opposed to the more chatty, personal, almost disc jockey-type conversation that seems to take place. I guess you've wanted some of both, really, on the programme, but how would you characterise the new format in those terms?

It's really interesting. You take this morning's programme: you have a discussion on Turkey's engagement with the Kurds, you have a conversation about the Twitter storm between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy, if I've got my names right—

Probably the first time that those names have been mentioned in this room.

My pleasure. I aim to please. I think the view we took was we needed a programme that could try and encompass the whole waterfront. I think when we spoke to audiences, they clearly want the serious news agenda, and I don't believe, since we've made those changes, that any significant stories have been lost. In fact, the story count is higher because there's more pace in the show. At times, I think the old format had become slightly ponderous in places. So, I think there's a higher story count.

In many cases—I mean, on Fairbourne, we were doing lives from Fairbourne on coastal erosion this morning. The power of that story is the personal testimony of the disruption those decisions have had on that local community, and I do think, with all due respect, we have to strike a balance between institutional focus and a focus on the direct human experience. It's really important, because if we want Welsh news to reach the broadest possible audience—and I think we'd all subscribe to that ambition—people need to hear themselves on air and not hear others representing their views. People need that direct human experience.

And what I hear is a programme that is certainly the most wide-ranging news programme we now deliver on BBC Wales, and a programme that I think has confidently launched, and a programme that isn't scared to have fun, it isn't scared to be serious, but it gives itself permission to cover the waterfront in a way that maybe the previous programme didn't.

And, sadly, the only programme to deal with news and current affairs on radio that is local radio—local and national. 

There was a genuinely coincidental thing, at the time, around the application to Ofcom around all-speech and—

I wasn't going to ask, because I can't really get what I wanted out of it, but I just was trying to understand why couldn't you remove yourself from the nations and regions application if you genuinely didn't want to decrease the—

I genuinely don't, and as long as I'm director, there'll be an all-speech breakfast news service on Radio Wales. But I do believe in the principle, across nations and regions, and across all local radio stations as well, that the people best placed to make those decisions about the programme mix are the editorial leaders, and that if we believe in devolution, there will be different editorial solutions in different parts of the UK. That's why I believe the principle's important.

And I also think—Elan and I have both touched on the issue of commercial radio—I do think we need to think about whether, alongside an all-speech service, given what's happened to commercial radio, whether there's space for other provision that might be lighter in terms of its news content or less voluminous in terms of two hours of all speech, because some audiences that we all want to connect with will never turn to an all-speech news service.

Of course. Absolutely right.

Yes, but perhaps briefly—I know that we've got very little time—but in terms of Ofcom and its portrayal monitoring methodology—and I think we touched on this earlier, really, how Wales as a country and its people are portrayed in BBC broadcasting—has that methodology had much impact, do you think?

12:05

I think the impact has come from a more transparent, quantitative look at all sorts of inclusion and diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, disabilities, everything. So, their first report was quite wide-ranging, and although it showed very good progress having been made in portrayal of nations, it didn't really explain in great detail the way in which that methodology had been achieved. So, I think it's still a work in progress to try, as I said to Delyth, to define what this—. It's easier to define how many people with disabilities are on screen or behind the camera than it is to say, 'That's a Welsh programme'—does Huw Edwards count or doesn't he count? So this is work in progress, but it's fascinating stuff, and it's about our identity.

Ac i orffen, Mick Antoniw.

And to finish, Mick Antoniw. 

Given time, I'll be very succinct and I'll roll my questions together into one, firstly in terms of the economic and social impact that changes have been having. Firstly, an update on the headquarters, the move from Llandaff, et cetera, and how that's going; secondly, whether the Roath Lock studios are truly going to become the absolute primary centre for drama production in the UK as promised in 2016 by Rhodri; thirdly, is there any update on the national broadcast archive?

Blimey. Right. Okay. Any particular order?

Okay, so with the national broadcast archive, after a few preliminary hiccups we're in good shape. The conversation's going on very well with the national library, and we're on track to deliver the 180,000 assets we're delivering to the national library over the next couple of years. 

On the headquarters, we moved our first department into—I've forgotten it—into Central Square two weeks ago. 

We expect to have half our staff in by Christmas, and then the remainder in by spring. If you ask me what's keeping me awake at night with Central Square at the moment, the technological complexity of it is extraordinary, because it's a new IP-based system, so it's cutting-edge technology, and the prospect of an election in the middle of the migration is a headache we could all do without. But I'm not sure the democratic process is going to wait for the BBC to sort its relocation out. 

On the question of Roath Lock, I think I said it a couple of years ago in terms of the role of Wales in drama production. It's the case that, pound for pound, Wales is ahead of any other part of the UK in drama production, probably with the exception of London, and I think what's really interesting, because I've been coming to committee for a few years now, is that we used to talk about Roath Lock as, 'That's it. That the commitment, and it's a BBC-owned commitment'. What's really exciting now about the sector is it's genuinely diverse. There are a number of significant commercial players, so not only are the facilities wide ranging but you've got a whole portfolio of really exciting producers and a genuine local competitive marketplace. So I do think we're in a very good place. I'm looking forward to the creation of Creative Wales. I think there's a lot of work to do—

There's a lot of work to do on skills. Then I think you also asked about the economic and social impact. Do you mean in terms of the impact of our broadcasting or of our workforce?

Both, but I think also in terms of the way in which you're generating within the creative sector in itself in terms of the commissioning of new programmes, new companies and so on. 

I think that the dramatic difference that we've seen with the new investment has been with the independent sector. As I say, 90 per cent of the new money has gone into the independent sector, and what's also happened, which we touched on with David earlier, is a lot of those projects are now in both Welsh and network, so it's giving independent companies, some of them quite new companies, real profile, not just in Wales but at a UK level. So, I think that's incredibly heartening, and the challenge for us is to maintain that momentum. 

12:10

Could I just add a really positive note to end? Next week we'll see the launch of one of the BBC's—centrally, the BBC's—greatest investments in drama, and that's the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials, which is produced by Bad Wolf in Wales and a huge investment in people and skills, but I think something that might cut through and be the sort of Netflix moment for the BBC. 

And a wonderful direct connection back to 2005, with Doctor Who, because it's Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner who regenerated Doctor Who in 2005 who are at the helm of Bad Wolf. So, it's a terrific success story.

And I still remember the first episode of Doctor Who.

In 2005, presumably, yes? [Laughter.]

Ocê. Dyna'r oll sydd gennym ni o ran amser. Diolch ichi am ddod i mewn atom eto ac mae'n siŵr, os oes cwestiynau ychwanegol, gwnawn ni gysylltu â chi.

Okay. We've run out of time, I'm afraid. Thank you for coming in to join us and, I'm sure, if we have additional questions, we will be in touch with you.

4. Papurau i’w nodi
4. Papers to note

Papurau i'w nodi: gohebiaeth ar y raglen Cyfuno. Ydy pawb yn hapus i nodi hynny?

Papers to note: we have correspondence on the Fusion programme. Is everyone content to note that?

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod hwn
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Wedyn cynnig o dan y Rheol Sefydlog i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. 

And then a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. 

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:11.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 12:11.

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