The digital future of Gaelic media is the focus of MG ALBA as they publish their Annual Report today.
The annual overview of the work of MG ALBA and the wider sector highlights high audience appreciation and an award-winning year for BBC ALBA content, as well as a range of activities and initiatives which are supporting the Gaelic media sector.
However, Gaelic media is not immune to the challenges within the wider media sector, with diminishing linear audiences, and the impact of high broadcast inflation key drivers for change. Positive growth in short form content views across platforms points to the need to secure Gaelic’s space in the digital media domain, as stressed by Chair John Morrison:
“I am under no illusions about the task ahead. Media is going through a time of rapid change driven by the digital revolution, and MG ALBA is no different. The ways in which audiences consume content are almost unrecognisable from five years ago. We must follow the audience.”
Gaelic media must react to the changes in the marketplace but is severely hampered by a funding model which John Morrison states is “not working”. This is particularly challenging when compared with other minority language media providers who have stability of funding due to statutory recognition as outlined by Chief Executive Donald Campbell:
“At a time when the survival of Gaelic media is at stake, I am proud to report that appreciation of our Gaelic media content has never been higher. But I must also point out the high degree of challenge – at a time of ferocious competition and high inflationary pressures – in continuing to deliver a service that depends on annual and uncertain funding allocations and which, unlike the Welsh and Irish language services, has no statutory protections.”
MG ALBA continues to actively engage with the UK Government, Scottish Government and the BBC to improve the settlement for Gaelic media. This includes a recent round table, hosted by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, to discuss the coordination of funding to Gaelic media.