2024 Multi-annual Production Contract Commissioning Round

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BBC ALBA is a contemporary, forward-looking channel with the Gaelic language and community at its heart. Run in a unique partnership between the BBC and MG ALBA, its ambition is to move, excite and inspire audiences across Scotland and beyond with distinctive Gaelic stories and perspectives. Please see Appendix Two for information on MG ALBA and its role in the funding and contracting of this content.

Content on BBC ALBA’s iPlayer platform and linear channel is commissioned in two different ways:

  1. Regular commissioning rounds aimed at delivering distinctive content.
  2. Multi-annual production contracts. These provide the core of our output.

In a competitive media world of limitless choice across endless platforms, viewers need an active reason to choose BBC ALBA.

This means that every piece of content on BBC ALBA needs to be able to break through and deliver impact and quality.

In order to achieve this ambition, we are increasing the level of funding for content in our regular commissioning rounds including funding for co-production and co-funding.

The same relentless focus on creative distinctiveness means that we are consolidating the multi-annual production contracts in this commissioning round into five genres.

We would welcome submissions from production companies for the following genres.  The successful commissions will form the basis of two-year contracts commencing July 2024.  Subject to performance, the contract period will have the potential to be extended for one further year.

Music and Events

  • 31 hours per year
  • Contract value: £1,200,000 per year
  • Delivery according to live event calendar and multi-platform requirements

Target audience: Gaelic with national resonance

This package is focused mainly on live multi-camera, OB-style coverage of popular events – Belladrum, Celtic Connections, Na Trads. (Please see Appendix One for detailed information).

These live / quick-turnaround ‘tent-pole’ moments are crucial to bringing significant audiences to our iPlayer platform and our linear channel.

As with all the packages, a clearly worked-out digital first strategy will also be a crucial component of any successful proposal.

Please note that this Music and Events package demands a level of technical production expertise as well as an ability to forge and maintain third party and stakeholder relationships.


  • 12 hours per year
  • Contract value: £720,000 per year
  • Delivery to suit fixed publishing and marketing priorities

Target audience: Gaelic with national resonance

We are looking for distinctive nature, landscape or environmental themes, or personal and community stories with a global hook.

These programmes should have a broad appeal with compelling stories that sustain over a mix of 45-60 minutes.

We are specifically looking for short series in this package rather than single one-offs (unless there’s a topical scheduling priority).

Ideas should be capable of supplying additional digital first short form content to engage non-linear audiences and drive engagement.

Co-production and co-finance could apply to this content but consideration of meeting schedule publishing deadlines will be paramount.

Factual Entertainment (Core Gaelic Audience)

  • 12 hours per year
  • Contract Value: £384,000 per year
  • Delivery to suit fixed scheduling and marketing priorities
  • Target audience: Core Gaelic
We are looking for popular Fact-Ent formats aimed squarely at the 8:30pm prime-time linear slot which inherits a strong Core Gaelic audience from BBC ALBA’s daily live news programme.

Talent should be front-and-centre with the ambition to reach the widest-possible audience.

Longer brand-building runs of half-hour programmes are preferable.

Ideas should be capable of supplying additional digital first short form content to engage non-linear audiences and drive engagement.

Factual Entertainment (Younger Audience)

  • 12 hours per year
  • Contract value: £384,000 per year
  • Target audience: Gaelic with national resonance
The priority with this package is to deliver entertaining, engaging talent-centred formats in a fresh and appealing way.

The ambition is to attract a younger skewing audience (under 35).

Think digital/iPlayer first and flexible durations.

A detailed strategy for reaching digital audiences will be key.

Factual Acquisitions

  • 35 hours per year
  • Contract value: £315,000 per year
  • Target audience: Gaelic with national resonance
We are placing greater emphasis on our factual acquisitions with the aim of high-impact, versioned series for the 9-10pm slot.  (Commercial durations for a 60 minute slot length are acceptable).

An appetite for the very best of international factual formats, and an instinct for identifying narrative-led content that will be a good fit for our audience will be vital.

Expertise in contracting acquisitions and handling the creative and technical challenges of versioning into Gaelic, will also be important.

The contract value will include the cost of licensing from distributors/third parties.


Please include:

    • A two-year creative summary and a synopsis of content proposals for Year 1.
    • Details of your company’s track record, key talent and any awards won.
    • Changing viewer consumption patterns mean that our audiences expect content on a variety of platforms therefore your submission should detail how you will add multi-platform content to engage audiences and market your content.
    • Details of how the content will be marketed to the target audience with examples of how this would look/feel and what resources would be created to support this element of the submission.
    • Proposals on how you intend to create a legacy for Gaelic in terms of Gaelic speaking talent at all levels of your business. This should include setting out your plans for investment in industry training.
    • Details on how your content will reflect the diversity of contemporary Scotland, and how you will ensure the inclusion of diverse voices and backgrounds both on and off screen.
    • Delivery Plan including plans for sustainable production using Albert calculator and certification and key production staff training.
    • Confirmation of your company’s status as a living wage employer.
    • A one-page budget breakdown.

Other Considerations

  • Prices and hourage of genre packages are fixed.
  • Companies may bid for more than one package.
  • Performance will be formally reviewed at the end of Year 1 and Year 2.
  • Depending on performance, a contract extension for one-year may be offered.
  • MG ALBA contracts require that arrangements with talent are on the basis of PACT agreements with talent unions.




  • The deadline for multi-year supply submissions is 1pm on Friday 9th February 2024.
  • All submissions must be made electronically to pasgan@mgalba.com before the deadline. A receipt will be generated automatically. Submissions received after this deadline will not be considered and it is incumbent on the production company to ensure that delivery has been effected.
  • An opportunity to clarify any matters in relation to this commissioning round will be offered on Thursday 18th and Friday 19th January 2024 when partnership executives will make themselves available for meetings with prospective applicants.
  • E-mail queries can be sent to claire.macdonald@bbc.co.uk before Monday 15th January 2024.
  • Any questions raised will be treated as confidential but significant themes may be shared by way of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on MG ALBA’s commissioning webpages, by 26th January 2024.
  • Once the commissioning round has closed, the opportunity to discuss and develop submissions will be given through interviews with applicants. It is anticipated that meetings will be scheduled Tuesday 20th February 2024.
  • The expected date for MG ALBA/BBC partnership decisions is Friday 29th March 2024.
  • Multi-year contracts are expected to commence on Monday 1st July 2024.
  • FAQs: FAQs – 2024 Multi-annual Production Contract Commissioning

Assessment Criteria

  • Criteria for decisions on submissions (with relevant weightings) are set out below:
    • 35% Quality, creativity, distinctiveness of submission and editorial fit with BBC ALBA
    • 25% Track record in the successful delivery of high-impact content to a recognised TV broadcaster or streamer
    • 20% Multi-platform content proposals and track record of creation and delivery
    • 10% Proposals for the development of Gaelic-speaking key talent on and off screen
    • 10% Diversity & Inclusion strategy for the delivery of this contract

Appendix One

Music and Events

First publication slot: Weekends, circa 9pm. (some may be weekday)

Format: Live/iPlayer first/quick turnaround programmes, duration as appropriate to event.

This content is envisaged as live/iPlayer first/quick turnaround from key events such as Celtic Connections (7 hours), Belladrum (20 hours), Na Trads (4 hours). The event mix could change to events of a similar nature over the course of the contract.

Set out below are the precise details of the envisaged content.

•   Belladrum – live coverage with a minimum of 7+ 2 cameras across three nights of the festival, mix of main stage, garden stage and specially recorded acoustics and some festival colour for a minimum of 5.5 hours. Previously unseen music highlights as iPlayer first and/or quick turnaround for a minimum of 14.5 hours. Exclusive broadcast rights to the event are held or will be negotiated by MG ALBA.

•   Celtic Connections – 3 hours of content based on producer-curated performances with a minimum of 6 cameras and 4 hours with a minimum of 6 cameras based on iPlayer first and/or quick turnaround of pre-recorded Celtic Connections events for broadcast around the festival period. Exclusive broadcast rights will be negotiated by MG ALBA or via production company.

•   Na Trads – 2 minimum hours of live coverage from the awards event held at various venues in Scotland with a minimum of 7 +2 cameras from the annual celebration of Scottish Traditional Music with an additional 2 hours of unseen highlights content captured at the event. Exclusive broadcast rights are held or will be negotiated by MG ALBA.


Appendix Two


On 19 September 2008 MG ALBA and the BBC launched a dedicated Gaelic language TV channel, BBC ALBA.

BBC ALBA is an unincorporated joint venture operated under a BBC licence and is funded and managed in partnership by the BBC and MG ALBA.

MG ALBA contracts with producers to purchase programme rights which it then passes on to the BBC (as the service licence holder) to enable transmission on BBC ALBA.

Due to the ongoing nature of MG ALBA’s multi-annual production contracts a non-standard contract model is employed.


Contractual Relationship

Useful Links

·      MG ALBA website


·      MG ALBA’s Lèirsinn – A Route Map for Gaelic Media 2022-2027