Welsh broadcaster S4C has launched a package of measures worth up to £6m for the independent production sector in Wales as the industry battles the challenges of Covid-19.
The channel has divided its offering into three key sections.
The first is the Rapid Commissioning Round, with £2.8m allocated for immediate submissions for ideas arising from the current crisis, which could include documentaries, uplifting programming and comedy. The content will be transmitted as soon as possible.
Director of content Amanda Rees said: "S4C has a unique role during this time. As a Public Service Broadcaster, we have a responsibility to serve our audiences with information and entertainment.
"We need to reflect the reality of people's lives during this challenging period and people will be looking to us for comfort and company.”
The second keystone in the package is Support for the Production Sector.
S4C chief executive Owen Evans has been in contact with Welsh Government and the central UK government to stress the need for financial assistance for both companies and freelancers in the production and creative sector.
Evans said: "In my calls with the Secretary of State at the DCMS, Oliver Dowden and Eluned Morgan, the Minister with responsibility for the Welsh language in Welsh Government last week I underlined the importance of helping the sector.”
“Both the Welsh Government and the Westminster Government have announced various programmes to help companies and freelancers, and S4C urges the Welsh production sector to take advantage of these…
"… To this end, in addition to the new commissions, we are announcing a package of measures to release up to £2.9m to support companies. These include releasing funds to companies developing programs for production as soon as the Covid-19 crisis allows.”
The channel is also speeding up payments on productions that already have contracts in place and will be as sympathetic as possible where production milestones have not been fully met due to problems caused by Covid-19.
The third tranche of the package is an On-line Support Portal, a digital resource that draws together all government help, health and safety advice and other Covid-19 related resources for companies on the S4C Production website.
"As the national broadcaster of Wales", continued Evans, "it is only right that we should do our utmost to entertain and inform our audiences and to protect our industry. I believe these measures do that."