5 Ateb i “Can we trust BARB’s viewing figures for Sgorio on S4C?”

  1. I read this story elsewhere and was mortified. I grew up watching Sgorio and am very fond of it.

    Of course it’s all guff. Sgorio is one of the most popular programmes on S4C and loads of people watch it. It’s a far superior programme to anything offered in English for football fans interested in World football. I even knew people with no Welsh at all who would watch it regardless.

    Sadly, this all appears to be merely English press laughing at ‘pointless’ Welsh TV and making fun. Shame on them.

  2. Do people still watch TV? 🙂
    I’m no expect but I have some hazy recollections of this stuff from way back when…what you are talking about is the sampling error rate. Interestingly, the accuracy of a random sample has a lot more to do with the sample size than the size of the entire population. I seem to remember that the magic number is 400 – at a sample size of 400 then the error lies around +/-5% with 95% confidence.

    The upshot of this is that if a survey of 500 odd viewers says that no one was watching a show, I guess that actually means there is somewhere between 0% and about 4% of the viewing public watching the programme.

  3. I know that a significant number of English speakers used to watch S4C programmes like Sgorio, but I’m not sure how true that is by now. The channel is still aimed primarily at Welsh speakers so, optimistically, its potential audience is (according to Wikipedia figures) 611,000 (+ some of the estimated 150,000 Welsh speakers in England that are able to watch). So maybe 700k?

    I do know that many Welsh learners and English speakers watch S4C using subtitles but we’d be fooling ourselves to believe this figure is at all significant. The core audience is still ‘fluent’ Welsh speakers (mother tongue or learners).

    That potential audience is therefore 1.14% of the UK population, which is only 128 homes sampled by BARB.

    BBC Three has a total budget similar to S4C, but has a far larger potential – although still minority – audience. Many of the ratings for its programmes have been (and sometimes still are) officially ‘zero’ according to BARB.

    I think this just shows the fundamental problem with measuring the audience in the digital TV world as we move towards the kind of niche broadcasting which S4C has always been part of.

    I’m sure S4C have more detailed figures available to them but to publish them would be embarrassing as most people are pretty idiotic (like English newspapers) and would compare the channel to BBC One, which is not at all a fair comparison.

  4. Mark, I studied that too. I left the post quite open because my memories of the proper statistical method are pretty vague now! I’d welcome any follow-up post by someone with the skills.

    Liam, it’s the kind of debate you get around public service broadcasting – especially special interest or minority language programming. I think demand can be legitimately questioned, as it can be in Dafydd’s reference to BBC Three. Demand probably is going to be lower that that of mainstream programmes, which is why I thought it would be useful to question the accuracy of the figures.

    Dafydd, I chose not to look at Welsh speakers. The audience for Sgorio can be segmented along various lines – according to Welsh learners, the curious, football fans, and of course the fluent.

    In a time when people seem more open to subtitled foreign films, etc, and many (if not most) S4C programmes have English subtitles available – as well as bilingual marketing – I didn’t want to favour Welsh speakers as a special group.

    I’m not sure if “most people are pretty idiotic”. Even if true, I’d rather not resign myself to it. It’s about having other sources of influence available besides the press, which is why I would encourage blogging about things like this in a fair-minded way as I’ve tried to do.

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