Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu - Y Bumed Senedd
Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee - Fifth Senedd04/03/2021
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Bethan Sayed MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Carwyn Jones MS|
|David Melding MS|
|Helen Mary Jones MS|
|John Griffiths MS|
|Mick Antoniw MS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Elan Closs Stephens||Aelod o'r Bwrdd ar gyfer Cymru, BBC|
|Board Member for Wales, BBC|
|Rhodri Talfan Davies||Cyfarwyddwr y Cenhedloedd, BBC|
|Director of Nations, BBC|
|Tim Davie||Director General, BBC|
|Cyfarwyddwr Cyffredinol, BBC|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Angharad Roche||Dirprwy Glerc|
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.
Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:31.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:31.
Croeso i'r Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu y bore yma. Dŷn ni'n symud yn syth ymlaen at eitem 1, sef cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datganiad buddiannau. Bore da i'r Aelodau sydd wedi dod atom heddiw. Dwi ddim wedi cael unrhyw ymddiheuriadau. Diolch am hynny. Oes gan unrhyw un rywbeth i'w ddatgan yma heddiw? Na. Dim byd.
Welcome to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. We'll move to item 1, introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations. Good morning to Members. I've not received any apologies. Thank you for that. Does anyone have any declarations of interest today? No. Nothing.
Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen yn syth at eitem 2, felly, gwaith craffu blynyddol ar y BBC. Dŷn ni'n croesawu Tim Davie, cyfarwyddwr cyffredinol y BBC, Rhodri Talfan Davies, cyfarwyddwr BBC Cymru, a hefyd Elan Closs Stephens, sef aelod dros Gymru ar fwrdd y BBC. Os yw hi'n bosibl ichi gyflwyno eich hun ar gyfer y record, byddem ni'n gwerthfawrogi hynny yn fawr. Diolch yn fawr iawn.
We'll move immediately to item 2, the annual scrutiny of the BBC. We welcome Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, Rhodri Talfan Davies, director of BBC Cymru Wales, and also Elan Closs Stephens, member for Wales on the BBC board. If you could introduce yourselves for the record, we'd appreciate that. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr iawn, Bethan. Efallai gallwn i gael y pleser o ddweud bod Tim Davie gyda ni heddiw fel cyfarwyddwr cyffredinol newydd, ac yn ei swydd gyda chynlluniau cyffrous, dwi'n siŵr, ar gyfer dyfodol y BBC. Ac wedyn yn ei swydd newydd hefyd mae Rhodri Talfan Davies fel cyfarwyddwr y cenhedloedd, ac yn gwneud y swydd honno yn uniongyrchol o'r cenhedloedd, yn hytrach nag o'r canol, fel yn y gorffennol. Ac mae hynny'n gam positif ymlaen, dwi'n meddwl. Mae Rhodri, fel y gwelwch chi, yn eistedd yn Sgwâr Canolog, ac rydym ni'n edrych ymlaen yn fawr at y cyfnod datgloi pan fyddwn ni'n gallu mynd â grwpiau ysgol a chymdeithasau a chynulleidfaoedd o gwmpas adeilad sydd wedi ei adeiladu ar gyfer y pwrpas hwnnw.
Ond y peth pwysicaf roeddwn i eisiau ei ddweud ar y dechrau fel hyn, Madam Cadeirydd—a gobeithio y gwnewch chi roi jest munud bach i fi, achos dwi eisiau ei ddweud o ar y dechrau rhag ofn i ni redeg allan o amser ar y diwedd—yw fy mod i'n ymwybodol mai dyma'r pwyllgor olaf i ni ddod ger eich bron chi cyn diwedd y Senedd hon ac, yn wir, cyn bod yr etholiad ar y gorwel. Rydym ni'n ymwybodol iawn bod rhai ohonoch chi, yn eich cynnwys chi, Gadeirydd, heb roi eich enw ymlaen i ddod yn ôl ar gyfer y Senedd nesaf, ac felly dwi'n meddwl ei fod o'n briodol iawn i ni ddweud diolch yn fawr iawn wrthych chi sydd yn gadael, ond hefyd diolch i'r pwyllgor yn ei gyfanrwydd.
Dydy o ddim yn beth hawdd i eistedd ar yr ochr yma i'r bwrdd wrth i chi dasgu cwestiynau tuag atom ni a ni'n gwneud ein gorau i'w hateb nhw. Ond rydym ni hefyd yn gwybod bod yr her a'r sialens a'r cwestiynau a'r feirniadaeth yn dod o un man, sef eich bod chi wir eisiau gweld twf darlledu yng Nghymru a ffyniant o'r diwydiannau creadigol. A dwi'n gobeithio ein bod ni hefyd, o'n hochr ni, yn cyfranogi o'r un uchelgais. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn ichi am eich gwaith, ac yn wir am yr uchelgais tu ôl i'r gwaith hwnnw. Mae o'n faes hynod o bwysig, ac yn haeddu pob craffu sydd yn bosibl. Diolch.
Thank you very much, Bethan. If I could perhaps have the pleasure of saying that Tim Davie is joining us today as a new director general, and he has very exciting plans for the future of the BBC. And in his new role too, we have Rhodri Talfan Davies, who will be director of nations, and will be doing that role directly from the nations, rather than doing it centrally, as was the case in the past. And I think that's a positive step forward. Rhodri, as you can see, is sitting in Central Square, and we look forward very much to the post-lockdown period when we will be able to take school groups and associations and our audiences around a building that is built for that very purpose.
But the most important thing I wanted to say at the outset, Chair—and I hope you will indulge me by just giving me a few moments, because I do want to make this point at the very outset in case we run out of time at the end—is that I am highly aware that this will be the final time that we will appear before you as a committee before the end of this Senedd and, indeed, before the election. We are highly aware that some of you, including yourself, Chair, haven't put your names forward to stand for election to the next Senedd, so I think it's most appropriate that I should say thank you very much to those of you who are leaving, but also thank the committee as a whole.
It's not easy to sit at this side of the table as you throw your questions towards us and we do our level best to answer them. But we also know that the challenge and the scrutiny and the questions and the criticism is coming from the same place, and that is that you truly do want to see growth in broadcasting in Wales, and you want to see the creative industries prosper here. And I hope that we, from our side, are also coming from the same direction and have the same ambition. So, thank you very much for your work, and thank you for the ambition underpinning that work. It's an extremely important area, and it deserves all possible scrutiny. Thank you.
Diolch yn fawr iawn am y geiriau caredig, Elan Closs Stephens. Dŷn ni yn gwerthfawrogi y geiriau hynny. Wrth gwrs, dŷn ni yn falch ein bod ni wedi gallu rhoi y mater yma ar flaen yr agenda gwleidyddol. Yn sicr, weithiau dŷn ni efallai yn gadarn gyda'r sgrwtini, ond yn sicr dŷch chi ddim yn disgwyl dim llai gennym ni, mae'n siŵr. Ond diolch ichi hefyd am ddod atom ni, achos mae e'n hawdd dweud na fedrwch chi ddod i sesiynau, ac mae'n hawdd peidio â chyfrannu, ond dŷch chi wedi bod yn dda am gyfrannu ac wedi dod i'r bwrdd gyda nifer o gwestiynau ac atebion eich hun, ac wedi newid pethau dros y blynyddoedd hefyd o fewn eich mudiad eich hun. Felly, diolch yn fawr iawn. Jest ar gyfer y record, Tim Davie a Rhodri Talfan Davies, os medrwch chi ddweud eich enwau—ond jest ar gyfer y record fydd hynny. Diolch.
Thank you very much for those kind words, Elan Closs Stephens. We appreciate that. Of course, we are very pleased that we've been able to put this matter on top of the political agenda. Perhaps we are at times robust with our scrutiny, but you would expect no less from us, I'm sure. But thank you for joining us, because it would be easy for you to say that you couldn't attend, and it's easy to avoid scrutiny, but you have contributed positively and brought a number of questions and solutions to the table yourselves, and have made changes yourselves too over the years. So, thank you very much. Just for the record, Tim Davie and Rhodri Talfan Davies, if you could just give us your names—but that will be just for the record. Thank you.
Rhodri Talfan Davies ydw i, yma fel cyfarwyddwr Cymru, ond, fel roedd Elan yn sôn, gyda dyletswyddau ehangach o ran y cenhedloedd bellach.
I'm Rhodri Talfan Davies, here as director for Wales, but as Elan mentioned, I have now wider duties for the nations.
I'm Tim Davie. I'm director general of the BBC, and it's an honour to come to speak to the committee. I really look forward to the session. I wish we were face to face. I managed to get to Central Square before lockdown, which was an incredible pleasure, and I look forward to being back. But it's very good to be with you, and I look forward to the session. Thank you.
Fel sydd yn arfer arnom, dŷn ni'n mynd yn syth i mewn i gwestiynau, os yw hynny'n iawn efo chi. Byddwn ni'n mynd drwy nifer o themâu gwahanol. Dŷn ni'n mynd i gychwyn heddiw gyda chwestiynau gan Mick Antoniw, a hynny ar y thema staffio. Diolch, Mick.
As we usually do, we'll move immediately to questions, if that's okay with you. We have a number of different themes that we want to cover. We're going to start this morning with some questions from Mick Antoniw on the theme of staffing. Thank you, Mick.
Thank you. Tim, welcome to, I think, your first appearance before this committee. It's a committee that very much supports and welcomes the role of public service broadcasting. You take over at a time of massive transition and challenge. I see from a BBC comment article that you're described as
'a commercial creature with a genuinely global perspective.'
I haven't got a clue what that means, but I wonder if I could perhaps just ask you what your vision is for Wales and for Welsh audiences.
Thank you, Mick. It's a real pleasure to be here. I think, when I took over the BBC as director general and I spent time with my senior team, we were very, very clear, I think, on what we wanted the BBC to do, and that is very much true of Wales. I'll talk about Wales specifically for a second in a minute, but I really think the BBC, at its heart, is about delivering value for audiences. It's not about institutional protection, it's not about anything else; it's about are we ensuring that every household in Aberystwyth, Bangor or Swansea is getting value. You need value for the licence fee, and we are serving them. We are there to serve people in every corner of the UK and deliver that value. And I don't think anything detracts from the central challenge for the BBC, which is to maintain relevance. I'm a passionate believer in public service broadcasting, but we're now in an environment where distribution is completely unrestricted. You've got IP in a way that makes it highly competitive, in that you have to make sure that, as the BBC, we are utterly focused on the outside world and serving audiences.
With regard to Wales—and hopefully we'll get into some of the detail of this—I think the success, for me, is very straightforward, with the team, with Rhodri, with all of us, which is that we want to see Welsh audiences getting great value from the BBC. We want to see the creative economy of Wales really thriving, with the BBC playing a catalytic role in that. I've been very clear; part of what I bring in terms of my background is that there's no solution for the BBC that doesn't include the growth of the creative industries. And as the former leader of BBC Studios, I am thrilled to see Roath Lock, but also His Dark Materials being made, and other independent businesses growing. We'll talk about that, but I think that is a critical factor for me, which is the growth of the Welsh creative economy. Interestingly, across the UK, we forecast that, out of COVID, we could see 1 million jobs created in the creative economy. It is a growth area; it was growing four times the speed of the wider economy going into COVID. We need Wales to capture its fair share, at minimum, of that growth coming out, and there are really good signs that we can make that happen.
I think the other bit of my vision for Wales is that clearly we are a facilitator of local democracy, local storytelling, current affairs, news, and that needs to be thriving and is critical to the future. I think of the community as well. As someone who has visited Wales many, many times, Welsh stories and making sure that we've got local stories, we've got that narrative—whether it be news programming, but also cultural programming—is really critical. And thinking about the National Orchestra of Wales, one of the things I used to run as head of radio and the overall music vision—not directly at the NOW—it's critical to areas like music making, composition. We want to see those things thriving, and linked to that, of course, is Central Square.
Finally, I think we play an integral role—I've had a couple of sessions already, and it's a priority for me, with S4C—in terms of the growth, development and support of Welsh language broadcasting. I see that as critical to us; it's a role that we can play in a way that others can't in terms of with S4C. I think that partnership is central to who we are, and very important on my watch. So, that's my vision. At the end of the day, it all comes down to value for audiences and your household.
Thank you for those comments. I think we'd agree with the sentiments that you've expressed there, and they're views that we've discussed many times on this particular committee. During the period of the last director general, there was certainly a focus and an increased spend and commitment and production in respect of Welsh material, Welsh programmes, the spending on the production of Welsh programmes and so on, and that's obviously something that we very much have welcomed. I'm wondering if you could be perhaps a little bit more specific about the strategy you see in terms of how that will be perhaps increased or built upon, that record that has started, and how you'd actually build upon that.
Well, it's been an incredible success, and I think one of the highlights of the annual report. I go to many meetings and I go to many parts of the UK and I have to say that Wales should be very proud—and I know this has been a team effort—in terms of the amount of network production, to see 8.2 per cent of network spend up from 6.3 per cent. But it's more than that; it's actually those creative centres, those centres of excellence. The way Cardiff has developed, and beyond, but also local indies, has been exceptional.
Of course, on my watch—I say 'of course'; I'm assuming you would guess this—I want to see more money flowing beyond the M25. We're just about to go, obviously, into a major process with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in terms of the funding between 2022 and 2027. I think everyone on this call will be across that. It's a critical moment for us as the BBC. Of course, the licence fee is not in question, but the budget is. Within that—and I don't want to give away too much of what we'll be talking about—there is not a scenario in which more money does not go outside the M25, and money of scale. Now, I think Wales is in a very, very good position, with its creative track record, the things we've set up. And also I speak as a former head of BBC Studios, of course, where the production of Casualty, Doctor Who and the development of individuals that have come through that whole system is utterly critical.
The other thing I'd like to see more of is—. We have seen excellent partnership with Creative Wales, and talking about projects such as BBC Three commissions, more network commissioning—I want to see more of that on my watch, frankly, Mick. By the way, there's obviously creative economy benefits to this, but if you take my objective, which is just, 'I want to be relevant to every household wherever they are in the UK', there's absolutely no doubt one of the great ways of driving relevance is to show output that's close to people, at a network level as well as local programmes like The Story of Welsh Art or whatever it would be—or Weatherman Walking. We need the balance between—. Being portrayed on network drives audience value. So, we're not solely doing it from an economic engineering point of view; I'm doing it because I think it's the way to drive value to everyone in every town and every village in Wales. That's how it works.
Thank you for those comments. If I could turn to Rhodri Talfan Davies, and obviously welcome you in your new additional role of director of nations. I'm wondering, perhaps, Rhodri, if I could ask you how you see that role developing, and how it relates to the existing responsibilities you have specifically for BBC Wales.
Yes, sure, of course—and thank you, again, for the invitation today. Let me just explain the role. The director of nations role has editorial responsibility across Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as across local and regional programming in England—so, that's the span of the role. And clearly the biggest objective at the moment is really in support of the BBC-wide objectives. Because I think the critical part for the nations division is how it works with the rest of the BBC. I think, historically, there's always been a slightly strange boundary between, if you like, the network, and then the devolved nations and our local and regional.
I think Tim has been very clear internally with the senior team, and rightly, that we need to try and collapse those internal boundaries. So, one of the key examples of that would be how we co-commission, for example, with network. When you look in the annual report for the management review for Wales in 2019-20, what you see creatively is many of the biggest creative successes have been where we've joined forces with network colleagues, whether that's been Keeping Faith, whether that's been The Left Behind, whether that's In My Skin. Some of the biggest scripted hits that we've had, and ones that are returning for further series, are when we pool resources. So, a big part of my job, and it was always part of my job in Wales, is how do you partner effectively, not just with the sector, but actually internally within the BBC.
In terms of Wales, clearly, it's a bigger span of responsibilities and, therefore, I need to make sure that, in terms of our focus on programmes and services in Wales, that's not compromised, so I will be appointing, hopefully next week, a new head of content who will manage the day-to-day editorial planning in Wales. But, clearly, in terms of accountability and sessions like this, I will continue to play the leading role in representing both Wales and the nations.
Thank you. If I can move on a little bit just to some staffing matters, obviously, the issue of diversity and issues of equal pay and so on have bedevilled the BBC in recent years. Certainly, they've been high-profile issues, and, of course, in June 2020, the BBC committed £100 million to increasing diversity on tv and also set a target of 20 per cent of offscreen talent having to come from underrepresented groups. I'm sure we'd all welcome that commitment. I wonder if you could outline precisely how that is progressing, and in particular how it's progressing within Wales, whether there are targets within Wales, how they're being achieved, but also whether there are detailed breakdowns of diversity on staffing specifically within Wales. We have this common problem of coming off UK figures that actually don't tell us what the situation is specifically within Wales.
Mick, should I talk for a minute on the pan-BBC, and then hand to Rhodri to talk about maybe the specific situation in Wales?
That'd be helpful.
You've picked up on a number of issues there. Let's talk about workforce diversity, and also, within that, by the way, I count the freelance community and those people who are doing work on our productions, of course, not just our own headcount, because that's critical. The truth about the facts are we have made progress, but moved too slowly. So, we haven't been short of good intent, we haven't been short of initiatives, but we absolutely—I'm talking at a pan-UK level, rather than a nation level—at UK level, we have moved too slowly.
Now, I can be relatively proud of our numbers, so, currently, 15.7 per cent, I think, of the BBC is BAME, and just to make clear your points, when you said 20 per cent is underrepresented groups, it's actually 50 per cent gender, 20 per cent BAME, 12 per cent disability, and we're working on targets for socioeconomic diversity, which I think, actually, is as big as anything.
Within that, instead of just setting a grand target, we are working on targets that are owned by—. Under my watch and part of probably what I bring from a slightly more commercial background is accountability for the leaders to deliver a clear three to five-year plan to get to those numbers, because you can't do it overnight. It will also be differentiated. You are going to get a different set of numbers, particularly with regard to something like BAME, between the World Service and BBC Wales, naturally. So, what that means is we are working in detail with the leadership, so Rhodri will be held to account for numbers for nations and regions, and they will be specific, we will look through those numbers and drill them down through the organisation. So, that's how it's working. It's a fairly rigorous process. I think it's not just about the right thing to do, it also goes to my earlier point, which is we need an organisation that is of the people, for the people—literally for them, rather than for a certain type. Rhodri, do you want to talk about how it's deploying down into your area?
Thanks, Tim. There are two parts to that. I think one is about onscreen diversity and the other is about workforce diversity. Let me start with workforce diversity. What we publish in the annual report at the moment are full figures against all the protected characteristics by division. So, the numbers that you see within the annual report break down the nations and regions number rather than the individual nations. Whilst I think that's the right way to do it in terms of the internal accountability structures at the BBC, I'm very happy in future committee sessions and this one to share our internal staffing diversity numbers for Wales, if that's useful for the committee.
In terms of where we are at the moment in terms of female diversity within BBC Wales, we're at about 44 per cent, and in terms of BAME we're just shy of 4 per cent. And I would echo what Tim said—plenty of good initiatives but not enough progress. And I think, particularly on the BAME number, we will need to see progress on that. We're obviously going through a census at the moment, a UK-wide census, and that will throw out new data. We're broadly in line with the 2011 census at the moment in terms of ethnicity, but we need to push on.
I think, on the point on creative diversity, the BBC content division, the network division, announced last year that, for all new independent sector commissions, we would expect those production teams to contain at least 20 per cent of staffing from diverse backgrounds, and I would expect the same for productions being commissioned here in Wales and across the nations. So, I don't see any reason why we would have a differentiated approach for output from the nations. Having said that, and to Tim's point, I think we will see a different mix. Realistically, in order to hit that 20 per cent, we would expect to see growth in terms of ethnicity and disability. I suspect that we will see disproportionate growth in terms of socioeconomic diversity in Wales, given what we know about the mix of the country. And then the other part of that is the £100 million commitment that network television made last year. My expectation is that nations television over the coming years will also deliver a value of around £15 million of programming specifically hitting a gold standard in terms of diverse representation over the next three years. So, I think the key message is that those messages and those commitments you're seeing at a network level are absolutely ones that we will be mirroring in terms of the nations division.
Just one small point to follow on from that, obviously a lot of work is outsourced, and so on, and of course one of the challenges is ensuring that the BBC's own policies actually apply and carry on through the outsourcing. Is that a particular challenge, or is that something you think can be adequately addressed?
I can answer that. It's clearly a challenge, but I think we've been very robust. Just to repeat Rhodri's point, if you now make something for the BBC—. Interestingly, the targets and the performance are quite interesting. For front of screen talent, the numbers are pretty good—i.e. on screen—and can be turned around quicker than other things. Staff, we've got work to do but it's not bad. The area that is most demanding, which is exactly where you're probing, is production talent, lighting, all those various things. And it's often when you look at the wrap shot, as they call it, with the 100 people who made the programme, that really you say, 'That's where we've got work to do.'
Just to repeat what Rhodri was saying, because it is fundamental, this, if you make a production for the BBC now, 20 per cent of your staff have to have come from groups with protected characteristics. So, you have to prove that you are—. This is changing the industry as we speak. So, if you are running a small independent company, you do not make a programme for us without hitting those targets. BBC Studios—obviously the biggest producer for us—has implemented those policies. That is putting real pressure on the teams, in a good way, to change. So, I'm optimistic that we're going to see some numbers really moving there.
Okay. Thank you, Chair. That concludes my questions.
Could I just—
I beg your pardon.
Diolch, Mick Antoniw. Elan Closs Stephens.
Thank you, Mick Antoniw. Elan Closs Stephens.
Diolch yn fawr. Mick, I just wanted to add to that, just to say that I really welcomed Tim's proposals and the emphasis he has put on the socioeconomic background of people coming into the industry, because those of you who know me know that I come from Dyffryn Nantlle in Gwynedd, and when I was growing up it was officially designated as an officially depressed area. And I think, post-industrially, it's remained a poor part of the world. And I think that you can have people, you can hit gender targets, you can hit BAME targets, but they might all come from advantageous backgrounds and have a certain view of the world that is homogenous, and I think in order to have complete diversity of thought, we also need to address this background facet of our diversity. And I really, really welcome the emphasis that Tim has put on that from day one.
Just to say that fits in in total accord, I think, with the Senedd and its implementation of section 1 of the Equality Act of 2010, which takes effect from the end of this March. Chair, that concludes my questions.
I just had one tiny question. You mentioned, Tim Davie, getting these targets in place, which is great, in terms of staffing, but I just wonder, in terms of leadership within the BBC, do they apply there as well, because you might see better change if you apply some of these to your own teams, because if you are from a protected characteristic, you're more likely, potentially, to be looking for others to come behind you and to take part in that process than others may be, for example. So, does that include leadership?
Totally right. I think it's a very profound and important point. The last thing we want to do is hit our target, frankly, by hiring a load of apprentices who come in and then don't see themselves as senior level. In fact, we've got a bigger issue, you could argue, around just progression and making sure we get properly diverse leadership. We are making progress. If you go back a few years, to 2016-17, I think we were at 6 per cent or 7 per cent BAME senior leadership. We're now at 12.3 per cent, so we're getting better, but it's slow. I think, exactly to your point, Chair, we need more intrusive work on that. It's not easy, because in many of our areas—I'm just going to be, as ever, open—we don't get many people leaving BBC news, so however happy or unhappy people are, they don't move a lot. So, the question is, how do we get that movement so we can create more diverse teams? I think it's so critical, because it does two things: one is it really gets people to a point of belief that people like them can move through, and Elan's point around socioeconomic diversity is so profound as well in this regard; the second is it definitely gets to better decision making, and I think, editorially, we're in a state in the UK and within the nations where there are profound divisions within communities. A more polarised UK requires—and we could talk about in terms of the news coverage—really sensitive, smart editorial judgments, and I think diverse teams are better at doing that. So, yes, you're absolutely right. We are looking at it, and to publish at senior leadership level as well as all staff is very critical.
Rhodri Talfan Davies.
I just wanted to echo what Tim said, but also put it into a Welsh context. I think one of the things we are doing, absolutely, is tracking our overall workforce diversity, but also the mix and balance of our senior leadership teams, and there is, just to be candid about it, a lag between the levels of ethnicity we're seeing across the whole workforce and the levels we see in the senior teams. Bring that to life in the context of Wales, we're almost at 4 per cent in terms of BAME representation across the staff base, about 2.5 per cent in terms of ethnic representation in the senior teams. We have to crack that, and one of the things that we've done in Wales in the last six months is bring direct diversity representation onto the main BBC Wales board. So, Miguela Gonzales, an African-American, has joined the board and is giving us a different perspective. She's the nations' diversity and inclusion lead, she's from Cardiff, and we brought her straight onto the board to give us that mix. That's not the whole answer, but it's important we make steps, because this issue is not just about the fairness and morality question, but you're creatively enriched if you get the right voices on your senior teams, and the second issue is you provide role modelling to the rest of the organisation, because if you're an entry-level apprentice from a black or Asian background, you need to believe, and you need to see with your own eyes, that there are routes up through this organisation, and I think it's a really big priority right across the BBC.
Gret, diolch, ac mi fyddwn ni'n edrych ymlaen at unrhyw bwyllgor yn y dyfodol yn sgrwtineiddio'r data hynny yn sicr. Symudwn ni ymlaen, achos dŷn ni yn rhedeg tamaid bach tu ôl, at berfformiad teledu, a David Melding. Diolch yn fawr i ti, David.
Thank you very much, and we look forward to a future committee scrutinising that data. If we can move on, because we are slightly behind, and turn to television performance and some questions from David Melding. Thank you, David.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Can I just press you on the reach of the BBC in Wales at the moment in terms of the TV channels? If I look at BBC One and BBC Two and look at the percentage audience, it's decreased from 71 per cent to 67 per cent in the latest year-on-year figures, and a drop then in terms of hours watched in a typical week from seven hours and 50 minutes to seven hours and 39 minutes. BBC Two has gone down a bit, but it's much more marginal—44 per cent to 43 per cent—and, actually, a slight increase in the hours watched. Are these trendless fluctuations or is there a trend, and how worried are you if that trend is inevitably downwards?
I can talk on the overall and then Rhodri might want to observe again if there's anything particularly from the nations point of view. This is not a cyclical trend; this is, 'We will see declines over time to linear viewing.' This is a point to which we've moved, when people like myself were growing up with four channels, or even three channels, and now we're into an infinite number of channels and time-shifted viewing. So, there's no doubt this is a structural change. But the overall numbers, I have to say, actually, I'm quite—. And we'll no doubt come to the pandemic and the various challenges that's posed but, actually, we look more and more, if I'm honest, at reach at a total BBC level, which is holding at about 90 per cent. And that will be slightly differently constructed between online reach, people coming to the website to get their news and get video. If you take some of our dramas, whether it be Keeping Faith, Hidden but also things like I May Destroy You, some of the new dramas, if you take something like The Serpent, you are getting huge numbers on iPlayer alongside BBC One, and there's no doubt about it.
But looking solely—. If you talk to our TV commissioners now, they are not looking solely at BBC One reach; they're looking at the reach of the content and how far it gets. I have to say—we'll get to Wales in a minute—but the performance, we're pretty encouraged by the number of people who remain in linear television. I'm not expecting it to return to historical levels, because I think these changes are structural. But I do think we are in a position where linear channels are going to—. Having said all that I've said, I think linear channels are still going to be enormous and big, particularly BBC One, and we've seen that in the pandemic where people come for national events, for big moments; they will continue. It is a structural change in this market, and the BBC needs to move with that.
As I say, and this is a smidgen of defensiveness, overall our reach as a total BBC remains very strong. We're at about 90 per cent reach, 18 hours a week, and Wales is pretty much in line with averages on most measures. Rhodri, anything you want to add on Wales?
Yes, a couple of things. I'd echo the points about this is a structural change we've seen, and a pattern we've seen emerging over the last five or six years. There are two things I would draw out. One is—and we've discussed this in committee in the past—the focus on overall hours of broadcast is, I think, increasingly irrelevant. It is about the impact that you can deliver. When we announced the new investment in Wales three years ago, we were very careful to not overpromise in terms of increasing significantly the volume of hours. When we look at the successes we've had in the calendar year under review in this session, they are major investments, particularly in comedy and drama.
So, this isn't about—. We're not in a world anymore where it's about high volume of production; it's about the impact you can make with your projects, and the lifetime value—if you'll forgive the jargon—that you get beyond the broadcast moment. So, when you get a major drama hit like Keeping Faith, there is a certain impact you get through the initial broadcast, and then there is a massive additional value that you drive through the iPlayer availability thereafter. So, it is about scale productions, productions with impact, rather than just counting the number of hours that we can deliver.
The other point I would make is simply about COVID, and we have seen during this last year an extraordinary level of interest in Welsh content. Just to bring that to life, if you take BBC Wales Today, for example, audiences are up 30 per cent—30 per cent up, year on year. That is an extraordinary—if you like—move against the structural trend that we were seeing over the previous four or five years, and I guess tells us something about the demand for relevant information about how COVID is playing out in Wales and the policy response to it. But it's not just about news. We've also seen it in our national opt-out programming in Wales, which is up about 14 per cent, year on year. So, something has shifted in COVID; I suspect it's about the divergence of policy across the UK, but that thirst for nationally relevant Welsh content has been incredibly obvious and clear in the last 12 months.
Okay. I need to move on, but these are slightly confusing answers that have ranged from, 'There's an inevitable shift from linear tv', to, 'Actually, we're still getting a huge percentage of the population and there's not very much to worry about.' I take the general point, however, that hours watched, obviously, will diminish the more choice there is, but the percentage of the population accessing BBC, I mean, that is a key metric, isn't it, because if that's going down then there are real issues. And if it's going down on your signature station, BBC One, that's going to affect access—. Well, one, if you're not maintaining it at a high level, then you are pulling all the other sub-channels in, which are in that sort of more dispersed media world, but the licence fee and the heritage of the BBC is based on, 'It's the nation's channel', especially BBC One.
Yes. One point, David; when you say there's not much to worry about, I don't think there's anyone running a media business globally who hasn't got a lot to worry about. I actually think the structural changes in the market are really demanding for traditional media businesses around the world. I mean, if you think of the scale of change that people are going through, the pressure that the BBC is under, particularly with the lack of funding we've had in real terms, that has been really demanding. Now, I think, with that in mind, you're absolutely right to say, 'Look, overall, as BBC One is our lead channel, we need to see big reach as part of an overall'—. I mean, you heard me at the beginning; we need to deliver value to every household, and there's no complacency when I say we're at 90 per cent reach in 18 hours. I think that's under pressure; there's no doubt about it, in a market that's fragmenting. And, by the way, the competition has often been looked at as ITV or other providers; the competition is often gaming. If you think that's just teenagers, the data would suggest it's people in their fifties playing mobile gaming. This is a very demanding challenge.
Now, there is cause for optimism. So, we have healthy paranoia but we also are optimistic, and the optimism comes from the numbers in BBC One still remain very strong, and the adding—. I mean, I have to say, the numbers on radio—Radio Wales and Radio Cymru—I mean, to grow reach in a period where traditional radio has been under such pressure is a tremendous achievement, and we are looking at numbers that don't even get to COVID. If we want to restore real deep faith in public service broadcasting and the BBC, the numbers—and we were looking at them last night in terms of the growth in Wales—are outstanding. So, look; we have a high base. I can put a very strong case in terms of the current relevance of the BBC in terms of justifying a universal provision, but your questioning is absolutely in the right place that we need to be concerned and worried about ensuring that reach continues.
And by the way, the last thing on BBC One is that I do think, on BBC One, particularly—. Your points are very well made, which are—. There is always going to be a place for live broadcasting for major sporting fixtures, of which one recent one springs to mind, but major sports fixtures that will not be right on the—. That match would not be as good on the iPlayer; it wouldn't improve for an Englishman on the iPlayer. [Laughter.] The truth is, BBC One will still be a big broad-scale channel with massive reach, and live events, big news items, First Minister's briefings—they're still going to be there for a long, long time with big reach, and we need to protect that.
Yes, I'm going to race ahead, because, obviously, time is against us, but the iPlayer issue is the next one I want to raise anyway, and I have to say I've only recently got to grips with the iPlayer. I'm about to retire, incidentally, so I'll have more time with my iPlayer and I can watch some of the incredible archive shows like Face to Face with John Freeman interviewing Evelyn Waugh, whilst Evelyn Waugh talks about the scourge of poverty that affects him and he's puffing away on a large Montecristo cigar, so I think the mores of 1962, or whenever that was done, were obviously a bit different. [Laughter.] But, it's an incredibly rich resource; it's quite astonishing.
What I want to ask is, in terms of accessing BBC Wales content, I think the latest BBC Wales management review says that the number of requests went down from 44 million in 2018 to 38 million in the last year we have figures for, and I just wonder what accounts for this. Again, is it trendless fluctuation or is there a reason for this?
I think it would help—it would certainly help me and it may well help anyone watching this—to get a sort of idea of 38 million requests for BBC Wales content. If my maths are right, that's roughly 100,000 a day or a week. I can't quite do the maths in my head at the moment—that's a day, isn't it? I just wonder whether that level of demand is good or bad. Where do you hope to see that and can you give us a sense of scale around that?
Yes, again—Rhodri, I'll let you jump in in a second—I think on the overall basis the number pops around a bit based on the strength of big drama; that's the fact. So, when you've a big Welsh drama or something, that is really, really driving those big numbers. So, much as you and I are united in the desire to see Evelyn Waugh chatting in the archive, the real numbers are absolutely about big drama. It is lumpy, based on what big dramas are coming through, so you see a bit of up and down on that.
The overall numbers on iPlayer and reach are very good, but growing very, very rapidly. So, I think what we see is, again, a very different perspective by genre. In certain dramas—more young-screen dramas—we may have more viewing on iPlayer than on linear. On others—more traditional drama or something like BBC Wales Today—you're going to get very little on iPlayer. It just depends on the genre and it depends where we are.
I do think there's something that technology can bring us, and I've set out the ways in which we can drive more value to audiences. One of those things that I laid out was using online technology much more cleverly. So, now, if you log into iPlayer, you do get more Welsh programming. We can begin to become more and more intelligent in terms of—. If we know you particularly like authors of a certain era and you like Welsh coverage, I do think that the iPlayer can become more tailored—not wholly personalised, in the way that some of the US players want to do, because we have a curatorial role and an editorial role, but I do think we can be more personalised, and that's something I want to make happen.
I think we could get Wales even more prominent, and the national content even more prominent, on iPlayer for people in Wales. That's something I want to achieve.
David, just to pick up on the very specific question on BBC Wales numbers, that was the Keeping Faith effect. So, in the previous year, Keeping Faith had only been shown—broadcast—in Wales, but was available across the UK on iPlayer. So, a disproportionate amount of Keeping Faith viewing happened on iPlayer.
For the second series, which happened in the calendar year under review, the programme was broadcast on network television. So, the balance of viewing between broadcast and iPlayer shifted for the second series compared to the first series.
To keep it in context, the number you're looking at there for 2019-20 is still double where we were two years before; it's just there was a particular, extraordinary moment—a viral moment—in terms of Keeping Faith series 1.
I think the difficulty I have is that I genuinely don't know whether this is really impressive or whether it's just something you're building on. One hundred thousand requests a day for content on the iPlayer is, I don't know—is that good or bad?
It's certainly a number we want to grow. I think Tim hinted at this earlier; the route to growth is through scripted, it's through a real focus on major comedy and drama projects. That's why the critical lever you can pull is working with network colleagues to pool your resources and drive impact. iPlayer, again, for BBC Wales isn't about the volume of content that we have on iPlayer; it is about having those big signature pieces. If you look at the breakdown of the iPlayer figures in Wales, you will find that almost 60 or 70 per cent of the iPlayer number is driven by two or three drama and comedy titles. Wales Today and Scrum V—those types of live moments will never drive the iPlayer experience. It's about the big, scripted pieces.
I'll just finish with a request, really—perhaps it's my inability to grasp the magnitude of some of these things. Given the shift to on-demand access, I think it would be quite useful to have more useful comparative data in the management report. I think that would be helpful. I think it's perfectly reasonable what you said—that if there's a knock-out drama, you're going to have much higher figures. I just think that would help those who are scrutinising—
We can certainly look at that.
[Inaudible.]—and what is not a reasonable comparison. Also, perhaps some comparison with the main competitors, in terms of—
I think we are hitting a tipping point in terms of our approach to commissioning. We've been circling for two or three years, I think, this question of, 'Do you lean into broadcast or do you lean into iPlayer?', and I think COVID particularly has—we've seen a very big increase in on-demand viewing across the board. I think in BBC Wales's commissioning team, the primary focus now is on how we can grow iPlayer. We need to keep broadcast reach as stable as we can, but in terms of reaching new audiences, and to Tim's point about giving value to everybody, then that iPlayer focus is really, really important now.
Thank you. In that case, the data point, I think, is one that I want to reiterate. I think it would be helpful for us.
We can give you that data. We're tracking on a UK basis. The short answer, David, is that we do well against the other major subscription video on demand players, but amongst 16 to 34s, we've got a lot of work to do. That's the overarching theme. And you can the see the numbers; it's pretty clear.
Okay. Elan Closs Stephens.
I was just going to say that one of the confusing things, David, about this session is that the annual report, of course, was postponed until September, as were many company reports, due to COVID, and so we're looking back at a year that came to an end about a fortnight, really, into our major pandemic. We're looking at March last year, and so it doesn't really take into account the major shifts that have happened during the pandemic. I think for most people, they came to understand that Netflix was a wonderful thing, but it is still a library; it doesn't give you Mr Drakeford giving you advice and guidance on your own health and safety. So, the numbers for entertainment have gone up on on-demand, everywhere, and it remains to be seen, really, what will be the underlying trend coming out of this pandemic. But, David, just to say, I think some of the confusion of some of the numbers that we're talking about is the fact that they are a year old, and in fact we've had another year's performance since then.
I think the wider point is that, in the pandemic, the BBC, certainly from my subjective view, has performed extraordinary well, and been part of the broader value that we've placed on the institutions that have this strength to deliver in a time of crisis. But we do have to, in more normal times, have some idea of where these trends are.
I just want to indulge as Chair, just quickly. Tim Davie mentioned the 16 to 34 age group, and that's a challenge. Is that the reason why you've put BBC Three back on to linear, then? Because you're talking about structural issues that are meaning that fewer people are watching linear, but then you've decided to move BBC Three back from iPlayer only to linear.
Yes, it is. It's simple maths. We're spending a lot of money on that content. Actually, when we get it in front of people, it's delivering, but, frankly, the incremental costs of doing BBC Three on linear are relatively limited. Because we're making a lot of that content, so we're investing more. So, this isn't creating a whole new package of content and spending tens and tens of millions of pounds on creating something new. It's simple; there's a very virtuous circle with linear. Although it is structurally, over time, not going to be the major way to get content, still, not to have it as part of your BBC Three armoury did not make sense, based on the incremental money. So, it was clearly the right thing to do when you looked at the analysis.
But people didn't see that at the time, then. They didn't see at the time that it wouldn't have made sense to take it off linear.
Well, I think we were a bit ahead of ourselves, let's put it that way.
Okay. There we go. We'll see what the progress is on that. Moving quickly on.
Helen Mary Jones ar wariant yng Nghymru.
Helen Mary Jones with questions on spend in Wales.
Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Fel rŷn ni'n ei ddweud yn Gymraeg, diwedd y gân wastad yw'r geiniog, yntê, ac mae arian yn bwysig. Mae gyda fi gwestiwn cyntaf sydd yn eithaf penodol yng nghyd-destun Cymru, efallai, i Rhodri. Dwi'n credu ein bod ni i gyd wedi bod yn falch o weld llwyddiant Radio Cymru yn ystod y cwpl o flynyddoedd diwethaf. Dwi wedi gweld, er enghraifft, fel rhywun sydd yn gwrando a rhywun sydd yn cael ei chyfweld, bod y gwasanaeth newyddion wedi gwella yn sylweddol, yn enwedig yn y bore ac amser cinio. Oes cynlluniau gyda chi i fuddsoddi ymhellach? Dwi'n meddwl yn benodol yn Radio Cymru 2, wrth fynd nôl at y sgwrs roedd Bethan yn ei chael gyda Tim Davie ynglŷn â'r cynulleidfa ifanc. So, oes yna gynlluniau ar gyfer buddsoddiad pellach yn Radio Cymru, yn enwedig yn Radio Cymru 2?
Thank you, Chair. It always comes down to the money, essentially, and funding is very important. I have a first question that's quite specific in the Welsh context, and it's a question, perhaps, to Rhodri. I think we were all pleased to see the success of Radio Cymru over the past few years. As a listener myself, and as someone who is regularly interviewed, I've seen improvements in the news output, particularly in the mornings and at lunchtime. Do you have any plans to invest further in Radio Cymru? I'm thinking particularly of Radio Cymru 2, in returning to the conversation that Bethan had with Tim Davey on a younger audience. So, do you have any plans for further investment in Radio Cymru, particularly Radio Cymru 2?
Diolch am y cwestiwn. Rydyn ni'n astudio'r opsiynau yn fanwl ar hyn o bryd. Mae'n amlwg, o ran naws Radio Cymru 2, ei fod o'n cynnig dewis ehangach i wrandawyr, ac felly mae yna fudd yn hynny. Y cwestiynau sylfaenol i ni yw, mewn amgylchedd lle mae arian yn brin, beth sydd yn mynd i gael yr effaith mwyaf gyda'n defnyddwyr, ac yn enwedig gyda siaradwyr Cymraeg. Mae o'n bosib, yn sicr yn dechnegol, i ehangu gorwelion Radio Cymru 2 o ran oriau ac ati. Mae o hefyd yn bosib i fuddsoddi ymhellach i ddigidol. Felly, mae o yn mynd nôl i gwestiwn creiddiol Tim ar y cychwyn, sef beth sydd yn mynd i gynnig y gwerth mwyaf i'r gynulleidfa Gymreig. Ac felly, dyna'r cwestiwn sylfaenol rŷn ni'n ei ofyn. Yn hytrach na, 'A fyddai o'n ddymunol i ehangu Radio Cymru 2?', y cwestiwn yw, 'Lle sydd orau i osod y buddsoddiad?'
Mae yna ail gwestiwn hefyd, sef o ran rhuglder. Yn amlwg, mae Radio Cymru yn gwneud gwaith gwych. Mae o'n dal yn cyrraedd cynulleidfa tu hwnt i 100,000 yr wythnos, ac mae'r gwrandawyr hynny yn gwrando am dros 10 awr yr wythnos. So, rydyn ni'n sôn am filiwn o oriau o wrando bob wythnos drwy'r orsaf genedlaethol. Ond y cwestiwn wedyn yw sut ydyn ni yn ehangu ein heffaith ni gyda phobl sydd yn llai rhugl, ac yn benodol, siaradwyr Cymraeg sy'n byw mewn cartrefi lle nad Cymraeg yw iaith yr aelwyd. Ac felly, mae yna opsiynau o ran Bitesize, a chynyddu y gefnogaeth sydd gyda ni ar Bitesize, a hefyd, mae eisiau inni ystyried beth ydy rôl Radio Wales hefyd o ran cefnogi'r iaith. Os yw hwn yn swnio fel fy mod i'n bod bach yn niwtral ar hyn o bryd, mae hynny oherwydd dwi eisiau edrych ar yr holl opsiynau ochr yn ochr, a nid jest o ran trafodaeth ynglŷn â radio. Mae gennym ni bortffolio eang yn y Gymraeg yn y BBC, a dwi eisiau sicrhau, os oes modd rhyddhau arian, mae o'n cael yr effaith mwyaf gyda'r gynulleidfa. So, mi ddown ni nôl at y pwyllgor, ond dyna'r gwaith rŷn ni'n ei wneud ar hyn o bryd.
Thank you for the question. We are studying the options in detail at the moment. It's clear that, in terms of the ethos of Radio Cymru 2, it does provide a broader choice for our listenership, and there is a benefit to that. The fundamental questions for us are, in an environment where funding is short, what will have the greatest impact with our listeners, particularly with Welsh speakers in this context. It's certainly technically possible to expand Radio Cymru 2 in terms of hours. It's also possible to invest further in digital. So, it goes back to that core question that Tim posed at the outset, namely what's going to provide most value to the Welsh audience. And that's the fundamental question that we're asking. Rather than whether it would be desirable to expand Radio Cymru 2 and its output, the question is, 'Where best can we make that investment?'
There is also a second question in terms of fluency. Clearly, Radio Cymru does excellent work. It still reaches an audience beyond 100,000 per week, and that listenership does listen for more than 10 hours a week. So, we're talking about a million hours every week, through our national radio station there. But then, the question arising from that is how do we extend our impact in terms of those who are less fluent in Welsh, and particularly Welsh speakers living in homes where Welsh is not the language spoken at home. So, there are questions in terms of Bitesize, and enhancing the support we have available on Bitesize, and we also need to consider the role of Radio Wales, too, in supporting the Welsh language. If I sound as though I'm being quite neutral at the moment, that's because I want to look at all options alongside each other and not just in terms of the debate on radio. We have a broad Welsh-medium portfolio within the BBC, and I want to ensure that, if it is possible to release money, then it has the biggest impact possible with our audience. So, we will get back to you as a committee on this, but that's the work that we are currently doing.
Diolch. Mae hynny'n—
Thank you. That's—
A jest un peth arall. Yn amlwg, yn ystod COVID, does yna ddim ystadegau radio, oherwydd y system RAJAR; dydyn ni heb gael unrhyw ystadegau radio am bron i flwyddyn. Ac felly mae eisiau inni hefyd gael bach mwy o ddata gwrando yn y cyfnod yma i ddeall y cyfeiriad.
And just one further thing, if I may. Clearly, during COVID, we have no radio statistics, because of the RAJAR system; we haven't had any stats for almost a year. So, we also need to get a bit more data in terms of listenership during this period to understand the direction of travel.
Mae hynny'n gwneud sens.
Yes, that makes sense.
If I can turn now to network spend in Wales, how much of the BBC's record network spend in Wales in 2019-20 was the result of His Dark Materials? Can we expect the total network spend in Wales therefore to decrease in 2020-21?
Do you want me to take that, Tim? Okay. I'll just put a little bit of context on this, and then I'll get directly to the question. It's worth bearing in mind that since the BBC made the commitment to ensure 5 per cent of network spend was happening in Wales, we have been consistently, year in year out, at least 20 per cent ahead of that in terms of the overall level of spend. There are peaks and then there are sometimes fluctuations. This was a particularly good year in the sense that we had a huge production of the scale of His Dark Materials happening alongside Doctor Who, happening alongside Casualty, but also happening alongside a slate of very Welsh productions, including Keeping Faith and Hidden. So, it was an extraordinary year of scripted drama, and those are very high investment figures. There are lot of fluctuations in the last 12 months, as you would expect, as a result of COVID, but looking ahead, I would be confident that, when we come back to committee next year, we are still seeing figures that are significantly above that 5 per cent minimum threshold. I can't give you absolute data on it at the moment because there were an awful lot of ins and outs in the last 12 months that we're still working through.
Thank you. That's helpful. Would it be accurate to say that the BBC spends almost 70 per cent more on local content for Scottish audiences than they do for Welsh audiences, and if that is the case, what's the justification for that?
Let me try—and Tim may want to come in as well. In terms of absolute spend, the figures—let's take radio, for example—are broadly comparable in terms of total spend. The difference is, of course, that we are delivering two national stations rather than one national station. So, if we're looking at absolute spend in terms of audio, they're broadly consistent. The same is true in television, but again, we are looking at a commitment in Wales that straddles two languages, whereas in Scotland, the primary investment is all into English language tv. So, it depends how you want to look at it. If you want to look at spend per head, it is certainly the case that the expenditure in Wales is ahead of where we are in Scotland. There are many different ways of cutting it, but in terms of absolute spend, they are broadly comparable, it's just we are, obviously, serving in both languages. In addition, in Wales, there is clearly a direct grant from the BBC into S4C, which was established some years back. So, I think, in terms of overall levels of investment in Wales from the licence fee, we have a very good story to tell, but I appreciate that, in terms of a direct comparison, if you like, between the Radio Wales budget and the Radio Scotland budget, there is some gap there because we're also providing a Welsh language service side by side.
I think that's an explanation, but I'm not quite sure it's a justification. We don't have time to explore that, but perhaps we can come back to some of those comparative figures—those of us who are back—when this committee or a comparable committee is having those discussions in future.
To go back to English language content, how much of the content made with that increased spend on English language content has subsequently been broadcast on network? I think there was a target of aiming for 50 per cent.
As you recall, the announcement that was made back in 2017 was essentially additional investment into English language television of about £7.5 million. In this particular year under review, 2019-20, about £4 million of investment went into co-productions with network—so, there or there about in terms of the 50 per cent. I have to say—and I think Tim shares this view—we think we can drive that higher. We think, actually, given the competitive landscape, and given the importance of comedy and drama, a much closer partnership between Wales and the network commissioners is a good thing, and we're driving hard at that at the moment. So, I would hope we can push on from an already good number.
I think the key thing here is—. You work against the targets, and I think, under any scenario, we're doing well versus those targets, and we want to continue. But there's something bigger here, and Wales is well placed to take advantage of it, based on its track record in terms of network-quality production. With tight budgets and competing with hyperinflation on drama price—. Dramas aren't cheap, as anyone, if you've been to the His Dark Materials set, will know. It's really hard when you are—. All those productions, by the way—we're having to do, as you know, co-productions with the likes of HBO, deal making; it's a real art now to get those kinds of budgets and put financing together. As per your first remark, the creative's wonderful, but you've got to make the money work. There is no scenario in which I don't want to see, as the director general, more of that locally produced or nationally produced work coming through to network. It's wheel spin, in my view, if we don't see that. So, the Keeping Faith, the—we've now got new productions like The Pact coming; all those things are really important.
I would say it's not simply about making that number to a point where it's too high, because, of course, you want work that also is right for Wales, is made in Wales and suitable for Wales. So, we've got to get the balances right. But to Rhodri's point, I think the direction of travel, and we'll be back to this committee and tracking the way we—. There are a lot of hungry areas for more of that money, but I want to push more outside the M25, and there are more possibilities there. Wales is pretty well set in terms of its ability to produce and a proven track record in producing drama, particularly drama, but also now, with BBC Three work with Creative Wales, all the things that are going on, it's pretty well placed to get that network number up, so I would like to see that, and I think we're looking at minimum targets, rather than acceptable targets for me longer term. That's where we are.
That's helpful. One last question from me, Chair, if I may: how do the tariffs, that is, the indicative costs paid for content, compare between network content and local content, or is that a false dichotomy, but when that local content subsequently gets broadcast onto network? To what extent does Welsh-produced local content provide the BBC with a more cost-effective way of commissioning content shown on network, bearing in mind, of course what Tim Davie's just said about how incredibly expensive it is to make good-quality drama? Wherever you make it, it's never going to be a cheap option.
A couple of things, if I may. I think that it goes back to the strategy we set out in Wales when the new investment came through three years ago, which was that we would go for impact rather than volume. So, what we've seen, for example, in the factual area is that what we regard as local tariffs, i.e. productions just for BBC Wales, those tariffs have, on average, increased by about 40 per cent to 50 per cent over that period. The reason for that isn't because we're generous, the reason is because we're partnering with network very often, and there's also greater appetite, I would say, noticeably in the last couple of years, from network for content that is very culturally distinctive and coming from the different nations. So, as I say, we brought in that additional investment, we did not drive a volume target in terms of more and more hours, we deliberately focused on impact, and that is why we're able to see so many projects not only showing in Wales, but also moving to network audience as well. As I said earlier, we can grow that. There's a limit, and I think Tim's right, there will always be some projects that are just right for audiences in Wales, but I've always believed, actually, we could be more ambitious in this space. I don't believe that most projects can't travel, as in I believe most projects can travel and that, actually, network audiences do have an interest in culturally distinctive content, and I think we've seen that time and time again. It's fantastic to see Huw Stephens's story of art not just showing in Wales, but also showing across the network too, because these are stories that everybody should hear.
And this is why money, not hours, is critical, because, if I'm honest, we have so many—. For our commissioners, you've got so many targets and criteria, sometimes that can be challenging—if you think about all the areas within England, then you've got the nations. What I think is really critical is this point around money and impact. So, we're not trying to create success purely based on how many hours are produced; it is the quality of something and its impact. One of the things I think we need to dispense with once and for all—and, by the way, new technology really helps with this—is any kind of sense that we make stuff that can't go on network because the quality's not quite good enough. I would say the same about news correspondents, I would say the same—. The centre of the BBC is as much Cardiff in my mind as London or anywhere else. We have to be in a position where everyone is producing world-class quality content. I think we've made real progress on that. Some of the progress—. There's not a lot produced by—. If anything, and I couldn't name anything where I would—. Rod's looking at me now, saying, 'What's he going to say?' But I can't think of anything that wouldn't move across into network. And it's going to be on its creative merits. That's a big step change, and it's something in the BBC I think we need to—we need to get over the bridge finally on that one. And I think both parties need to get forward on that and just say, 'We're all network', in a way, but while maintaining the local relevance. Because what is network, unless it's locally relevant? It's a construct, in some ways. It really gets down to household value.
That's good, but I think what Helen's trying to say is that some of the commissions may have happened from a local network, local content basis, and therefore the production companies would be receiving that funding, whereas they could have received more had they known initially that it would have been transported to network, so I think it's about then how the production companies themselves feel they may be getting short changed in the short term. Obviously, they'd be proud to get their stuff on network, they're not going to dispute that, but if they had been told firstly that this is a local commission and it expands into something else, that's where this—[Inaudible.]
Yes, I totally take that point. What we're trying—. And there's always a bit of this; there's always a bit of—. And we want to get work made, if you know what I mean. That's the most important thing for the indies and for everyone else.
There is a cultural change going on in the BBC that, almost any project in that relation, your expectation is it is a piece of content that's not going to work for an area in Wales, it's going to work on iPlayer across the UK, it's going to work on network—you know, everyone is leaning in. And Charlotte Moore, who runs the content division now, is linked up with Rhodri in a way we've never had in the past to say, 'Okay, let's look at content in the round,' rather than, frankly, fragmenting the money up and having lots of people just kind of squirrelling away small, not-enough money to make predictions work on a UK basis. I think you're absolutely right to raise the issue. Let's see how we go. I think there'll always be a bit of that in terms of local moneys, but we are expecting everything to be of network quality and invest appropriately.
Bethan, jest i fod yn benodol iawn ar hwnna hefyd, o ran, os dŷn ni'n ystyried beth dŷn ni'n comisiynu yn BBC Cymru o flwyddyn i flwyddyn, byddwn i'n disgwyl i'r gwariant ar brojectau sydd ddim ond yn lleol neu yn genedlaethol i Gymru i leihau, ac i brojectau sy'n cael eu cyd-gomisiynu gyda'r rhwydwaith i gynyddu. A felly mi fydd hynny'n cael effaith uniongyrchol ar y tariffs dŷn ni'n priodoli ar gyfer y cynyrchiadau yna. So, dwi'n clywed y feirniadaeth, a dwi wedi ei glywed e'n uniongyrchol o nifer o aelodau o'r sector, ac, fel dwi'n dweud, dwi'n gobeithio y bydd y ffocws yma ar gyd-gomisiynu i raddau helaeth yn datrys y broblem yn y blynyddoedd i ddod.
Just to respond very specifically on that too, Bethan, if we consider what we commission in BBC Cymru Wales year on year, I would expect the expenditure on projects that are only local or national to Wales to reduce, and for projects that are jointly commissioned with network to increase. And then that will have a direct impact on the tariffs for those productions. So, I do hear that criticism, and I've heard it directly from a number within the sector, and, as I say, I hope this focus on joint commissioning to a certain extent will resolve the problem in coming years.
Ocê. Mae gen i gwestiwn clou arall hefyd, sori, gan mai hwn yw'r sesiwn olaf, i Rhodri Talfan Davies. Dŷch chi'n gyfarwyddwr y cenhedloedd nawr, a dŷch chi wedi esbonio i Helen Mary Jones ynglŷn ag efallai fod spend per head yng Nghymru yn uwch ond ei fod e'n edrych yn wahanol os dŷch chi'n edrych ar y ffigurau eraill. Nawr eich bod chi'n edrych ar y cenhedloedd i gyd, a'r ardaloedd yn Lloegr, ydych chi'n meddwl y byddwch chi'n dod i gasgliad arall ynglŷn â Chymru, ac, er enghraifft, byddai sianel arall yn rhywbeth byddech chi'n edrych arno i Gymru, neu, oherwydd sefyllfa S4C, dŷch chi'n credu bod y sefyllfa sydd ohoni yn dderbyniol? Hynny yw, gwnaethoch chi'r datganiad am Gymru, gan wneud sioe o'r peth, ac wedyn, y diwrnod ar ôl hynny, roedd sianel newydd i'r Alban, ac felly roedd ffocws mwy ar hynny, oherwydd y ffaith bod sianel newydd yno. Ydych chi'n credu, trwy eich rôl newydd, efallai medrwch chi asesu'n fwy trylwyr beth mae impact sianel ychwanegol wedi ei wneud yn yr Alban?
Okay. I have another quick question, if I may, as this is the final session, and it's for Rhodri Talfan Davies. You're now director of nations, and you've explained to Helen Mary Jones that perhaps spend per head in Wales is higher, but that it looks different if you compare with other figures. Now that you're looking across the nations and the regions of England, do you think that you would come to another conclusion about Wales, and, for example, would another channel be something that you would consider for Wales, or, because of the situation of S4C, do you think that the status quo is acceptable? That's to say, you made a statement about Wales and there was great fanfare, and then, the day after that, there was a new channel announced for Scotland, and there was a greater focus on that, of course, because there was a new channel being created there. So, do you think, through your new role, you can carry out a more thorough assessment of the impact of an additional channel in Scotland?
Wel, rwy'n cychwyn y daith yma o ran y swydd newydd o'r farn na fydd yr un ateb yn briodol ym mhob cenedl, a dwi wastad wedi meddwl hynny; mae yna densiynau, mae yna anghenion gwahanol. Wrth gwrs, mae'n bwysig iawn i barchu pob cenedl; dydy'r ateb ddim yn mynd i fod yn union yr un fath ym mhob man. Dwi dal o'r farn lle roeddwn i dair mlynedd yn ôl, na fyddai sianel Saesneg i Gymru, sianel linear i Gymru, yn ateb y galw yng Nghymru. Dwi'n meddwl, o ran y gwaith gwrando dŷn ni'n gwneud gyda cynulleidfaoedd, eu bod nhw am weld Cymru yn cael ei adlewyrchu ar y brif sianeli. Maen nhw eisiau gweld mwy o Gymru ar BBC One, a mwy o Gymru ar BBC Two. Ac mae'n drawiadol yn y ffigurau yn yr adroddiad blynyddol diwethaf yma, o ran teimlad y gynulleidfa fod y BBC yn adlewyrchu eu bywydau nhw, fod hwnnw i fyny 15 y cant blwyddyn ar flwyddyn. A ydy hwnna'n gyd-ddigwyddiad? Wel, roedd hi'n flwyddyn lle oedd yna Hidden, roedd Keeping Faith, roedd The Left Behind, roedd In My Skin. O ran cynyrchiadau a oedd yn adlewyrch Cymru gyfoes ar y BBC, roedd e'n uchafbwynt i'r BBC. Felly, na, dydw i ddim yn meddwl yn strategol y byddai sianel i Gymru yn ateb i'r her sydd gennym ni yma. Dwi'n meddwl bod mwy o impact yma yng Nghymru a mwy o gyd-gynrychiadau'r rhwydwaith—dyna le mae'r gynulleidfa.
Well, I start this journey in my new post with the view that no single solution will be appropriate to all nations, and I've always thought that; there are different tensions and different requirements. And of course, it's hugely important to respect every nation, but the solution or the response isn't going to be identical across the board. I'm still of the view, as I was three years ago, that a linear English-language channel for Wales would not meet the demand in Wales. I think, in terms of the work that we do listening to our audiences, they want to see Wales reflected on the main channels. They want to see more of Wales on BBC One, and more of Wales on BBC Two. And it's striking, in the figures in this last annual report, that, in terms of audience perception of the BBC reflecting their lives, then that's up 15 per cent year on year. Is that a coincidence? Well, it was a year where we had Hidden, Keeping Faith, The Left Behind, In My Skin. In terms of productions representing contemporary Wales on the BBC, then it was a high point for the BBC. So, no, I don't think strategically that a channel for Wales would meet the challenges that we have here. I think that there is more impact here in Wales in terms of having joint network production—that's where the audience is.
Grêt. Diolch yn fawr am hynny. Roeddwn i eisiau gofyn hwnna eto i weld beth oedd y barn. John Griffiths.
Thank you very much. I did want to ask that question, just to see what your view was. John Griffiths.
Thank you, John.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd, a bore da, Tim, Rhodri ac Elan.
Good morning, Chair, and good morning Tim, Rhodri and Elan.
I have some questions about future funding for the BBC. The BBC's currently in negotiations with UK Government for the next funding settlement, and in the past there's been criticism from the BBC of the process, in terms of it being rushed and not very open and transparent, and I know the previous director general, Tony Hall, made comments along those lines. So, I just wonder if you might be able to give us a flavour of the current round of negotiations and whether there has been an improvement.
Yes, I think there has been an improvement, John, and I'll explain what I mean by that in a second. I would also emphasise, by the way, that the stakes are high. The stakes are high in terms of whether we want to invest in public service broadcasting properly and appropriately, and, particularly post pandemic, I think we have an enormous role to play, if I can be blunt about it, in making sure that, around the nations, in Wales, we're making clear to DCMS the priority, because the things we've talked about require funding in a market that's hyperinflating, and no-one in the BBC is asking for an unreasonable settlement; we're conscious of the pressures on household income.
I think one of the things I'd say is it's not about just taking the licence fee as high as we can go. There's a kind of strange assumption we'd love the licence to be £250 or whatever it would be. It's not, but I do think we've got to, in the wider UK and particularly within the nations, speak up for a sensible investment that grows. So much of our money flows out of the BBC into stimulating the sector, whether it be the indie funds we've got, or the BBC Three partnership.
So, where are we on the process? The specific stage we're at is DCMS—. And I think it is, by the way, to offer some reassurance, a good process, all right. That's not to say—. In all negotiations you get to a final moment where we will be at a point where you've got to agree a number, but the DCMS has asked us for a detailed submission and published a letter that said, 'These are things that we will need to see.' We will provide data, and we're considering, obviously, what we put out in the public domain, but we will provide data, research, we've got a lot of information in terms of the evidence pack, responding directly to the Secretary of State's request in terms of what are our forecasts on commercial income, all the various factors. We'll also set out a clear vision, I think, in terms of what our role is as the BBC going forward. There will then be a period where they are analysing that data, thinking it through, talking through things, and then, after a decent period, I suspect we're going to be in a proper negotiation in the summer, or early summer. So, that's where we are. The process is now, as to your point, live, and, if you have a view on the funding of the BBC, I would recommend making that known sooner rather than later.
Okay, Tim. Diolch yn fawr for that. I'm sure as a committee we'll be discussing these matters later during this meeting and coming to a view.
It has been suggested, hasn't it, that it would be more appropriate for there to be an independent body outside Government to conduct negotiations. Is that an idea that you think has merit?
It's not something I'm considering at the moment. Honestly, in terms of all the things we've got to do, in terms of audience value and seeing—. We have a fixed process to get—. I mean, there's a lot of debate on this, of course, John, in terms of funding mechanics and setting of licence fee. I think what we need to do is be ruthlessly focused on delivering value to every household I've talked about, get through this settlement because we have a structure, we have a charter, and the licence fee is efficient. The big question for all of us is, 'Do we want a universally funded intervention here?' I believe in it personally, but I do think it needs to be underpinned by audiences wanting it, not just us imposing it. We have our work cut out, and, for 2022-27, the licence fee is set.
I think, in terms of how the process works and all future optionality, there will be a moment well before 2027 when we discuss that, we get into it, and I'm sure all options will be considered. You know what I'm saying here—I'd rather not get drawn on the ins and outs of that too early, because I don't think it's the real priority in hand. So, I look forward to having that conversation and, clearly, we've been a supporter of a transparent process and I think it's the right thing to do. We've moved a long way to that; how far we go beyond that in the future, I'll leave to another day.
Okay. I wonder if I could move on, then, to some of the likely consequences if the licence fee settlement was to decline in real terms. Obviously, it's crystal ball gazing to some extent, but, in terms of Wales and services for Wales and services from Wales, what would be the likely consequences if there was that decline in real terms?
It is too early to say that. I'm certainly not going to speculate on that. I think what I would say is if you look at the priorities of the BBC, they're very clear, and I set them out right at the top of this meeting, which are ensuring we have good national services supporting elements like the Welsh language—the creative industries in Wales come pretty far up my priority list. I wouldn't say more than that. I think it gets a little bit underneath that, which is how much money we've got to—. Some of the discussions we've had about how much original programming we can fund, the kind of investment we can put in, new areas where we see—. I'm not talking about expansionism here, but I'm talking about the migration to online. All those things become very challenged in terms of—. We are not sitting solely in a UK market anymore, in a Wales market; we're sitting in a global market, and I don't think the BBC will be looking for anything unreasonable. But to ensure we've got the right investment in the creative economy is definitely the right decision.
So, I think—and I want to be confident about this—there's a really good case for sensible investment in the BBC. I really believe that, and I think the proven case here is not just about societal value and household value; it's about the creative economy. I feel very passionately about this, which is that we have a curious ecosystem here of public and private enterprise, and it's worked incredibly well for us as the UK. It is not a coincidence that, when we look at the Golden Globes, we look at other things where we're doing well as the UK, see Welsh talent and Welsh producers coming back from Hollywood to work here. This is not a coincidence. We need to invest in it.
Okay. There's a current target, isn't there, to achieve savings of £125 million, and I think it's also been stated that there will be more to come next year? Is it possible for you to say anything about how that might translate to Wales, how that might affect Wales—so, network content made in Wales, local content for Welsh audiences and, indeed, for the workforce in Wales?
Rhodri can describe exactly where we are in terms of that. I can do it as well, but in terms of exactly where we are with regard to current staffing in Wales, we haven't got any further plans for cuts at the moment. The efficiencies we look for, John—. By the way, everything I do is trying to get costs that we don't need, overheads—. I mean, the BBC has taken out over £900 million in its savings plan. It's enormous, and I still think we get a hangover of just how bureaucratic the BBC is. I would urge everyone to look at the reports: the Deloitte report on the value we're delivering, the external—don't take my word for it—benchmarking of our costs. We're really trying to work on not taking anything away from audiences. We are having to reduce our headcount a bit, but we're doing it in a way that we're trying to get efficiency at all points. Obviously, it depends where the funding settlement goes. In the short term, we have made the savings we need to make and we're progressing on that basis, so hopefully we're in a pretty good position and we can keep the investment, but, again, we get back to the earlier conversation of five minutes ago. Rhod, anything you want to add to that?
About six months ago, I think, we published a statement in terms of where we are with the particular funding challenges in this period. Just to remind the committee, there were about an additional £4 million of savings that we needed to dig out of the business. I mean, we've been focused on efficiency for years. Clearly, with Central Square, we reduced the workforce by about 60 or 70 staff, given the level of technology investment that was going into the business, but, as a result of those additional COVID-related savings, we closed 80 posts and opened 20, so a net reduction of 60. We're pretty much through that process. About two thirds of those job reductions are down to voluntary redundancies rather than compulsories, and wherever possible we've protected on-air spend. So, just to bring that to life, that commitment we made three years ago to ensure that our direct tv spend was up 50 per cent on where it was previously, we've hung on to that, so we have protected as far as possible our content investment, but it's tight, and it's right it's tight. An investment like Central Square, which is about £100 million of capital investment from the BBC in a 20- or 30-year commitment to Wales, it's absolutely right that the quid pro quo on that type of level of investment is that we make sure that our operating model is as efficient as possible. So, I think we're in a good place. We've protected our news output. We've seen no significant content reductions. But it's a situation that every division across the BBC has faced, and in COVID, given the squeeze on every organisation, be it public or commercial, you get on with it, because it is tough on everybody at the moment.
Can I just make one other small point, Chair, very quickly? The other area we're trying to protect, of course, is sports investment, within reason, and I would put the Six Nations and making sure the extraordinary audiences, by the way, we saw on free-to-air—. I mean, it was 64 per cent, Rhodri, of the whole Welsh population watching that game. We also want to protect those investments. Now, we're having to play it smart, so sharing with ITV, working our way through and ensuring that we can be competitive in that, because there are big pay providers out there, but it's utterly critical in my mind. There is a limit to our budget, and, again, your support is important here, but it is utterly critical that we protect things like that, because that's where audiences get value from the BBC. So, that is of priority importance, that we can bring those big events. It links to David's points around BBC One. So, they're the other priorities for us. But, no, we're in a situation where we can invest, but the situation honestly gets really tough, going back to your earlier questioning, if the shape changes radically in this settlement.
Diolch, John Griffiths. Mae'n rhaid i ni symud ymlaen. Dwi'n gwybod, Tim Davie, fod yn rhaid i chi adael cyn hir, ond mae yna gwestiynau olaf gan Carwyn Jones, felly pe byddai'n iawn i chi aros jest ar gyfer y cwestiynau ar COVID a'r pandemig, byddwn i'n gwerthfawrogi hynny'n fawr. Diolch. Carwyn Jones.
Thank you, John Griffiths. We have to move on. I know, Tim Davie, you have to leave us soon, but we have some final questions from Carwyn Jones, so if you could just stay for those questions on COVID and the pandemic, I'd be very grateful. Thank you. Carwyn Jones.
Diolch, Gadeirydd, a bore da, bawb.
Thank you, Chair, and good morning, everyone.
Tim, given your time constraints, if I could ask you one question first, and that is to do with news coverage during the course of the pandemic and the discovery by some in network that Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland exist, in terms of having their own Governments. It has improved, certainly; we've seen news programmes now where it is made clear that there are different policies in different Governments in different parts of the UK. We still have the odd quirk. I'm looking at a web page here—20 February—that tells me that 10 Downing Street is in charge of the UK COVID response. I suppose my question is this. I think BBC network has learned a lot over the past few months and we have seen the fruit of that learning. Will that continue in the future? Will that understanding that not all power sits in Westminster in the UK persist in the future, so we have network news coverage that reflects the reality of devolution?
Thank you very much. I pretty much agree with every word of your analysis, in terms of—. I do think that we keep improving. I think we can be very proud of our efforts. I think the first phase of a pandemic—and this as well, if you talk about stretch on news teams, just delivering the thing—. If you remember, early on, there was a lot of confusion. There were different people saying different things. It wasn't just the BBC that was maybe not getting its sentences perfect. In fact, I think that we were doing very well, although we could improve—and thank you for your comments, because it has been a big topic, for what it's worth, at the top level of the BBC. You have got a Welshman now at the top of the BBC, and the voices at the top of the newsroom—. It has been a major, major discussion, and I think that we can be very proud of our efforts in terms of balancing out the messages now, in very tough circumstances. So, thank you for that.
Look, I think that the proof is in the pudding in the future, isn't it? I do think that, like many things in COVID, the world has changed forever. The risks of us snapping back to the old world are always there, but I'm optimistic. I think that this has been a major moment for many people across the UK to really understand devolved decision making and the importance of it, the significance of it, and making sure that we have got—. Also, frankly, within programming, it's how you deal with—. I mean, this is tough for the editor of the six and the 10, to just get through this in a way that really does justice to every nation. I think that the grammar of a television briefing in network has changed forever. So, I am optimistic. I think it's changed. I think we are learning. I think we can be proud of our efforts. You are right to issue the challenge, and let's see how we do. But, I think that things have changed forever, is the answer to your question.
Okay. Thank you for that.
A gaf i ofyn cwestiwn, felly, i Rhodri ynglŷn â chefnogaeth i'r sector cynhyrchu yn ystod y pandemig ei hun? Wrth ddarllen adolygiad o reolaeth BBC Cymru, er enghraifft, mae yna sôn am gronfa ddatblygu radio. Mae yna sôn am gronfa dros dro y mae BBC Cymru wedi'i chreu er mwyn gyrru datblygiad yn y pen draw. Mae yna hefyd gronfa gan y BBC ynglŷn â—wel, small indie fund yn Saesneg—'annibynwyr bychain', yn y Gymraeg. Nawr, mae hynny'n swnio fel rhywbeth i gapeli. Dwi ddim cweit yn gwybod sut y bydd y cyfieithydd yn cyfieithu hynny i mewn i'r Saesneg mewn ffordd sy'n synhwyrol. Felly, small indie fund yw'r term y dylwn ei ddefnyddio. Wrth wybod am y cronfeydd hyn, pa fath o effaith rŷch chi'n credu y maen nhw wedi'i chael yn gyfan gwbl ar y sector cynhyrchu yng Nghymru?
If I could turn to Rhodri, then, and ask a question on support for the production sector during the pandemic, in reading the BBC Wales management review, there is talk about developing a radio development fund. There is talk of an interim fund for BBC Wales in order to drive development. And, there's also a BBC fund that is described as a small indie fund. Now, the Welsh term sounds as though it should be something for chapels. I'm not sure how the translators will deal with that in English. So, the 'small indie fund' is the term to be used. Now, given that we know of these funds, what kind of impact do you think that they have had on the production sector in Wales?
Diolch am hynny. Yn gyntaf, mae eisiau jest cydnabod y pwysau sydd wedi bod ar y sector yn ystod COVID, yn enwedig yn y chwe mis cyntaf. Mi oedd y byd wedi newid yn gyfan gwbl, ac mi oedd y llif ariannol yn anodd i'r sector. Dwi'n meddwl yr oedd hynny'n wir hefyd am y sianeli eraill, gan gynnwys S4C. Y peth pwysicaf y mae unrhyw gomisiynydd yn gallu ei wneud yn ystod cyfnod fel COVID yw parhau i wario. Dyna sydd wrth wraidd cefnogi'r sector—y llif o brosiectau a chomisiynau sy'n cynnal y sector.
Felly, y peth cyntaf y gwnaethon ni yn radio a theledu oedd sicrhau bod yna gronfa benodol nid yn unig i gynhyrchu, ond hefyd i ddatblygu prosiectau yn barod ar gyfer lockdown yn cael ei ysgafnhau. Felly, mi oedd yna gronfa benodol i'r teledu a'r radio yn syth, o fewn tair wythnos i ddechrau COVID, i sicrhau bod y llif ariannol yma yn parhau.
O ran y small indie fund, mae hwn yn brosiect rŷm ni'n ei wneud ar y cyd â chydweithwyr yn rhwydwaith yn y content division. Hyd yn hyn, ac yn ystod cyfnod COVID, mae hynny'n cefnogi 13 o gwmnïau yng Nghymru, ac mae'n benodol ynglŷn â datblygu syniadau sy'n addas ar gyfer Cymru ac ar gyfer y rhwydwaith. Ond, yn sicr yn ystod COVID, mae hefyd wedi bod o help o ran cash flow i'r cwmnïau yna. Fel dwi'n ei ddweud, mae 13 o gwmnïau yng Nghymru yn elwa ar y gronfa honno.
Wedyn, yn baralel â hynny ac mewn cydweithrediad arall â Creative Wales, rŷm ni hefyd wedi partneru gyda BBC Three yn benodol ar gyfer prosiectau ffeithiol. Hyd yn hyn, mae chwech o gwmnïau, yn ystod cyfnod COVID, wedi elwa o'r prosiect newydd hynny, ac rydyn ni'n disgwyl, o leiaf, ddau brosiect neu beilot i gael eu comisiynu ar gyfer darllediad yn hwyrach eleni neu flwyddyn nesaf. Felly, mae'r holl sector, mae'r holl ddarlledwyr wedi ymateb i COVID, ond y peth pwysicaf gallwn ni wneud yw parhau i wario, a dyna oedd canolbwynt y gwaith yn y misoedd diwethaf yma.
Thank you for that. First of all, we just need to recognise the pressures that there have been on the sector during the COVID period, particularly during the first six months. The world had been transformed, and the cash flow was very difficult for the sector. I think that that was true of other channels, including S4C. The most important thing that any commissioner can do during a period such as COVID is to continue to spend. That is what is at the heart of supporting the sector—that flow of projects and commissions that will sustain the sector.
So, the first thing that we did in both radio and television was to ensure that there was a specific fund in place not only for production, but also for developing projects that would be ready to go when lockdown was relaxed. So, there was a fund in place for television and radio within three weeks of the beginning of the COVID, to ensure that the funds continued to flow.
In terms of the small indie fund, this is a project that we are running jointly with network colleagues within the content division. To date, and during the COVID period, this supports 13 companies in Wales, and it's specifically related to developing ideas appropriate for Wales and for the network. But, certainly during COVID, it has been of assistance in terms of cash flow for those companies. As I said, 13 companies in Wales have benefited from that fund.
Then, in parallel with that and in collaboration with Creative Wales, we've also partnered with BBC Three specifically on factual projects. To date, six companies, during the COVID period, have benefited from that new project, and we expect, at least two pilots to be commissioned for broadcast later this year or next year. So, the whole sector and all broadcasters have responded to COVID, but the most important thing that we can do is to continue to spend, and that was the focus of our work over the past few months.
Thank you, Chair.
Diolch. Yn anffodus, roedd gennym ni gwestiynau ychwanegol ynglŷn â'r archif, ac ynglŷn ag adeilad newydd y BBC, yn sicr, ond dŷn ni ddim yn mynd i gael amser ar gyfer rheini. Felly, mae'n sicr byddwn ni'n ysgrifennu atoch, os yw hwnna'n iawn? Ond, diolch i Tim Davie, Rhodri Talfan Davies ac i Elan Closs Stephens am ddod atom heddiw. Diolch am roi atebion cynhwysfawr i ni, a dŷn ni'n gwerthfawrogi eich ymroddiad i'r pwyllgor, a gobeithio bydd pwyllgor tebyg yn bodoli ar ôl yr etholiad nesaf. Mae'n sicr yn bwysig i ni, fel aelodau o'r pwyllgor yma, bod hynny yn parhau, a bod ffocws ar ddarlledu, boed os yw darlledu wedi'i ddatganoli neu beidio. Mae'n bwysig ein bod ni'n scrwtineiddio'r hyd rydych chi ac eraill—dim jest y BBC, ond eraill—yn ei wneud yn y sector yma. Diolch yn fawr iawn i chi am ddod atom.
Thank you. Unfortunately, we did have some additional questions on the archive and on the BBC's new building in Central Square, but we have no time for those. But we will write to you, if that's okay? But I would like to thank Tim Davie, Rhodri Talfan Davies and Elan Closs Stephens for joining us today. Thank you for providing comprehensive responses to our questions and we appreciate your commitment to the committee, and we hope to have a similar committee in place after the next election. It's certainly important to us, as members of this committee, that this work continues, and that the focus on broadcast remains, be it devolved or not. It's important that we scrutinise what you and others—not just the BBC—do in this sector. But thank you for joining us this morning.
Diolch i ti, Bethan, a diolch—
Thank you, Bethan, and thank you—
Thank you very much. Thank you to everyone.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Thank you.
Felly, dŷn ni'n symud ymlaen at eitem 3, papurau i'w nodi—gohebiaeth gan Lywodraeth Cymru ynghylch y fframwaith datblygu cenedlaethol, wedyn gohebiaeth â’r Gweinidog Addysg ar gyllideb ddrafft Llywodraeth Cymru, ac wedyn gohebiaeth â'r Gweinidog Iechyd Meddwl, Llesiant a'r Gymraeg. Ydy pobl yn hapus i nodi'r papurau yma? Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Okay. We'll move on to item 3, papers to note. We have correspondence from the Welsh Government concerning the national development framework, and then correspondence with the Minister for Education on the Welsh Government draft budget, then correspondence with the Minister for Mental Health, Well-being and Welsh Language. Are we happy to note those papers? Thank you very much.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
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.
Felly eitem 4, cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i wahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Ydy pawb yn hapus â hynny? Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Item 4 is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Is everyone content? Thank you.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:02.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:02.