Good news for Gaelic broadcasting

National Gaelic media service MG ALBA will receive an additional investment of £350,000 this year.

Ahead of his appearance at the MG ALBA event at the Royal National Mòd in Paisley, Minister for Scotland’s Languages Alasdair Allan announced that their new media hub in Stornoway will benefit from £300,000 investment.

With the remaining £50,000 going into programme development, MG ALBA – which is responsible for BBC ALBA, the FilmG short-film competition and is a partner in the LearnGaelic.net website – will be able to build on its recent success.

Dr Allan said: “BBC ALBA’s viewing figures among Gaelic and non-Gaelic communities have continued to build and have long been an encouraging indicator of the interest in the language – even before the latest census figures showed that the decline in speakers has been dramatically slowed.

“This commitment and ambition of the board and staff of MG ALBA and BBC ALBA is paying off. When it launched on Freeview in 2011 BBC ALBA had an audience target of 500,000 but is now regularly reaching an audience of 600,000 each week. On top of that, more than 4.1 million views of BBC ALBA programmes were watched on iPlayer during 2012-2013, an 86 per cent increase on the previous year.

“MG ALBA has achieved some impressive milestones and I know there are ambitious plans going forward for the development of more quality drama, an increase in children’s programming and continuing to be a champion for documentaries, music and sports that this investment will support.”

Donald Campbell, chief executive of MG ALBA, added: “We are extremely grateful for the continuing support of the Scottish Government and this additional funding will provide a boost to many of the projects that we lead, particularly the Creative Industries and Media Centre which has benefitted BBC ALBA and many others involved in the media throughout the Western Isles.

“Since 2008, when BBC ALBA and FilmG launched, MG ALBA has strived to build partnerships to achieve the maximum output with the resources we have. The launch of LearnGaelic.net in 2011 demonstrated this – a partnership between us, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, BBC, the Board of Celtic Studies Scotland and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – and has been a significant success over the last two years.

“For BBC ALBA, collaboration with a range of partners, most notably Creative Scotland, has allowed us to start work on a new drama for viewers, Bannan. We are excited about this pilot series and it is another step forward for the channel as we celebrate five years in existence.

“The support of the Scottish Government has been instrumental in allowing us to develop these projects and the infrastructure we need to deliver them. In doing so, we hope that MG ALBA, in partnership with the Scottish Government, can help Scotland’s creative talent, indigenous media and Gaelic language to flourish.”