No more Clirlun - S4C HD is victim of budget cuts

  •  Welsh broadcaster pulls in losses of over £6 million

The Welsh language broadcaster S4C has announced that it will cease transmitting Clirlun, it's HD channel which launched on the 30th April 2010, at the end of this year.

The HD service has only been distributed on Freeview HD, in place of Channel 4 HD in the Principality on the BBC-owned HD multiplex. Satellite distribution had been deemed too costly for the channel. It had only recently criticised "English signals" for interfering with Clirlun reception in the Wrexham area.

Following the recent licence fee settlement, most of the funding for S4C will fall under the jurisdiction of the BBC from next year.

The news of the HD axe comes as S4C announced that it made losses of over £6 million in 2011 - more than five times bigger than the loss it made in 2010. The HD service on Freeview cost the broadcaster £1.5 million a year. It follows an announcement made last month by Gaelic broadcaster MG Alba, which also posted a loss during the past year.

Huw Jones, chairman of the S4C authority said that the losses reflected an £11 million drop in public funding. S4C's reserves had been used its reserves to pad the affect on programming.

It has not yet been confirmed if the HD closedown will result in Channel 4 HD becoming available via Welsh transmitters for the first time. Ian Jones, S4C's Chief Executive has gone on the record saying: "We hope to be able to consider different options for using HD on several digital platforms in the future."

Clirlun means "clear picture" and was chosen as the Welsh term for "high definition". It was the winning phrase submitted by a viewer to an S4C competition to name the new service in 2010. The closure of Clirlun follows the closure of part time channel S4C2 in 2010, which provided Welsh Assembly and Eisteddfod coverage. In 2005, the broadcaster reaped a £34 million windfall when it sold its stake in digital terrestrial television multiplex operator SDN to ITV Plc.

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