Cwmni Da founder: Welsh television industry 'must evolve'

A couple watching television connecting a tablet Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Thirty three per cent of Welsh adults use subscription TV streaming services

Welsh independent TV companies must evolve to avoid being "left behind" by changing viewing habits, a senior producer has warned.

Dylan Huws established Cwmni Da in Caernarfon in 1996, making Welsh and English language TV programmes.

He is in the process of selling his stake to a new employee-owned trust, keeping the business in Welsh hands.

This would "empower" a younger generation of staff who were more in touch with changing trends, he said.

He said producers had to consider "with so many platforms, so many things being streamed everywhere on everything, how to actually build an industry on that?"

Mr Huws added: "We all need to look at our business models and think, 'Right, we've got to change, we've got to evolve, we've got to adapt or we're going to be left behind'."

"Television is not dead. People still want television content. The way that it is distributed is another issue."

How Welsh people watch television

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  • 33% of Welsh adults use subscription-streaming services.
  • BBC iPlayer is the most popular on-demand service in Wales, with 37% of adults using it, followed by Netflix (25%) and ITV Hub (24%).
  • Overall TV viewing is in gradual decline, with Welsh audiences watching an average of 3 hours 43 minutes a day in 2017. That was a fall of 7% on the previous year.
  • 55% of adults said they watched on-demand and streaming content in 2017.
  • Younger audiences are more likely to consume content online, with 2017 figures showing 64% of 16-24 year olds and 68% of 35-44 year olds more likely to view this type of content compared with the average.

Source: Ofcom

Cwmni Da has been responsible for many of S4C's popular entertainment, factual and drama programmes. It has also made English language programmes for broadcasters including the BBC.

The company was part of the burgeoning Welsh independent TV sector of the 1980s and 1990s which responded to the launch of S4C and the demand for Welsh-language programmes.

Image caption Dylan Huws says he is confident the industry in Wales can adapt

Dylan Huws established the company in 1996 along with two other directors, Ifor ap Glyn and Neville Hughes, who sold their stakes in the company in 2017.

Mr Huws is selling his share to an employee-owned trust, but will remain with the company during the transition period.

Despite winding down his involvement in the company, Mr Huws said he was confident the Welsh TV industry could adapt.

"It is a mature sector that is able to stand its own ground, but we are still committed to telling our own stories to our own audiences. That is really important to us, as a company based in Wales."

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