The continued decline in spending on public service broadcasting in Wales is highlighted by Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, published today (19 August).
Expenditure on English-language TV programmes for viewers in Wales (by the BBC and ITV) fell by 16 per cent last year. Since 2004, spending in Wales has fallen by 44 per cent – the biggest drop in any of the four nations.
In light of the new government’s decision to scrap plans for an independently-funded news service on ITV Wales, it’s noteworthy that spending on news (on BBC Wales and ITV Wales) has fallen substantially.
By genre, the reduction in Wales was driven by an 18% (£1.6m) decline in spend on news
programming for viewers in Wales to £7.6m and a 17% (£3.5m) reduction on non-news/noncurrent affairs output in the nation to £17.2m. Investment in current affairs programming was broadly flat in real terms, down 2% to £2.7m in 2009.
The report does not cover recent, more encouraging, developments at ITV Wales which suggest that the network is rethinking its earlier decision to scrap its regional news service (a decision which led to the proposal for an independently-funded alternative). A number of journalists have been recruited for the Cardiff newsroom and there is an air of restrained optimism about the medium-term future.