S4C has announced an exciting new addition to its ground-breaking service for younger viewers, Cyw. The announcement was made outside the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay today (Monday 6 September).
Cyw (the Welsh word for chick, pronounced like the letter ‘q’), is set to expand the Channel’s nursery provision in October with programmes broadcast on weekends for the first time since its launch in June 2008.
S4C’s Director of Commissioning, Rhian Gibson says, “This decision to expand the Cyw service to the weekends reflects S4C’s huge commitment to providing original, high-quality programmes for young children and their families. The Cyw service has been warmly welcomed by parents and their children in Wales and the UK since its launch in 2008. It has brought in non-Welsh speaking parents, learners and their families helping them to use the language beyond the school gates.
“S4C is recognised as a leading broadcaster in children’s programming, which is due to the quality of programming produced by the Welsh programme producers.”
The Welsh Language Board has also praised S4C’s commitment to children’s broadcasting.
Meirion Prys Jones, the Board’s Chief Executive states, “We are pleased to see S4C further extending its output for children and young families. Providing a high quality television service for this target group is vital in strengthening and raising the status of the Welsh language.”
Two of the service’s most iconic characters, Sali Mali and Jac y Jwc, were at the Senedd building alongside presenter Rachael Solomon and Cyw herself to celebrate the weekend service, which will hit our screens on Saturday, 23 October.
Clwb Cyw (Cyw Club), on air between 07:00 and 09:00 on Saturdays and Sundays, will travel to schools and nursery groups interacting with young children across Wales.
A lively bilingual 3D website - s4c.co.uk/cyw - full of games and activities, as well as information for parents accompanies the on-screen output.
The nursery service was the first stage of S4C’s strategy to introduce innovative and original programmes for children and young people. Since the launch, Cyw has broadcast six and a half hours of programming every weekday, Monday-Friday, 07:00 – 13:30.
The Channel’s second phase, Stwnsh, aimed at 7 – 13 year olds was launched earlier this year. In January 2011, the final phase will be introduced with a number of new programmes for teenagers and young people.
The findings of a major research paper published in 2009 showed that the Cyw service had an integral role to play in the education of pre-school and young children in Wales.
“There is a Welsh identity to the programmes. There is definitely originality and relevancy. Cyw spreads the message that it’s a living language,” said one parent.
Research has shown that a large majority of teachers see Cyw’s programmes and the website as an invaluable resource in the classroom. It also found that the service had managed to increase viewership and attract substantial off-screen interest online.
According to S4C’s Head of Children’s Service, Siân Eirian, “Cyw will continue to inspire, educate and entertain pre-school children in Wales and beyond, doing so not only on weekdays but also on weekends.
“Children will be able to enter Cyw’s magical world via the television and the website as users, contributors and co-presenters. Imagine the unique experience of stepping into this new world where they will sing and dance, play games that will evoke their imagination and senses as well as enjoying the range of programmes on offer.
“Among the new series we have on offer is Rapsgaliwn, a series which follows a mischievous rapper as he attempts to find answers for the great questions of the world. Y Diwrnod Mawr, a series of documentaries presented by our viewers, returns to our screens. The first series was well-received and has been nominated for a Rose d’Or Award.”
Cyw has gained international recognition for the quality of service; being shortlisted by Bafta Kids as Channel of the Year in 2009 was one of the highlights.
One of its series, ABC, won an RTS award and was described by judges as “An incredibly classy example of programming, which stood out for being both brave and radical”. Animation Holi Hana, about an agony aunt duck, has seen success at the Broadcast Awards, Celtic Media Festival and Bafta Cymru.
S4C is available free-to-air in Wales on Sky 104, Freeview 4, Virgin TV 194 and Freesat 104. Outside Wales, S4C is available on Sky 134 and Freesat 120.
S4C is the second largest single investor in children’s programming in the UK after the BBC.
S4C has sold its children’s programmes to more than 100 countries worldwide.
S4C broadcasts over 30 hours of nursery programming each week.
The BARB system does not measure children under the age of 4, and therefore there is no quantative information on the target audience.
During the 1990s there was a 50% increase in the number of 5 to 24 year-olds who speak Welsh.
In 2007/08 there were 464 Welsh medium primary schools and 54 Welsh medium secondary schools (where Welsh is the first language).
582,000 of the Welsh population are Welsh speakers, 21% of the population (2001 Census)
28% of homes in Welsh have at least one Welsh speaker in them.