Welsh media companies need to keep adapting to the revolution in how people consume news and entertainment so the public stays informed in an era of “bewildering” choice, the Wales Office Minister said today (October 13th).
While regional print titles have suffered tough times and TV ratings are under pressure, Alun Cairns said media companies are trying to ensure that digital can make up the deficit. Well-established names and new entrants are offering services via smart phone, laptop and social media.
Mr Cairns is speaking as MPs today discuss media plurality - the choice of news and current services available - in a Westminster Hall debate. Mr Cairns warns that as Wales continues to undergo major changes to how it is governed, it is more important than ever that the media hold public bodies to account with robust scrutiny.
The Wales Office Minister said:
The public’s ability to access a wide range of news, views and information is central to the health of our democracy and society.
The way people read and digest news is changing rapidly. Some people now prefer to get news updates on their phone rather than sitting down to a teatime television news bulletin.
Media companies are responding to the change in consumer habits by adapting what they do online. It’s vitally important we see this continue.
Mr Cairns also said Welsh viewers and listeners are well served by Welsh language services. Commercial radio is also being supplemented by an expanding network of small local stations.
In Wales, this means the viewer, reader and listener truly has a choice and range of voices to tune into.
The Wales Office Minister also praised the role of more than 50 television and animation companies for generating around a billion pounds a year for the Welsh economy. These companies also contribute to employment in Wales – with over 50,000 people employed in the creative industries in 2014 and 80,000 in the wider creative economy.