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Key long-term production contracts

31 March 2017


MG ALBA, the Gaelic Media Service which operates BBC ALBA in partnership with the BBC, has today announced key production contracts that will deliver a wide range of programming for the channel over the next four years.

Seven production companies will provide content for the channel including entertainment, music, children’s programmes, documentaries and sport.

The contracts have been awarded to companies located across Scotland, including Stornoway, Aberdeen and Glasgow, and mark a further significant investment in Scotland’s creative industries.

A three-year heads of agreement on sports production has been reached with Nemeton Scotland Ltd, a new company which has been established by the highly regarded Irish production company Nemeton TV. Nemeton TV has provided sports to Irish broadcaster TG4 since 1996, as well as to RTÉ, TV3 and Setanta Sports. In addition to sports production, Nemeton TV also produce factual programming in Ireland, including documentaries, health and entertainment programming. Its wholly-owned Scottish subsidiary will employ the staff of the outgoing BBC ALBA sports provider, mneTV.

Agreements have also been made in principle with the following companies:

  • • Bees Nees Media (factual/musical/light entertainment)
  • • MACtv (factual)
  • • Caledonia (factual/factual entertainment)
  • • Midas (factual entertainment)
  • • Obh Obh (children’s)
  • • Solus (children’s)

The four-year model for these companies enables security of supply for the channel and also creates a stable foundation for growth for the companies, including through international co-productions and sales of programmes.

Donald Campbell, MG ALBA’s Chief Executive, said: “These decisions lay the foundations for the future development of BBC ALBA. The decision to work with Nemeton Scotland Ltd offers the potential of creating an exciting new international partnership. All of BBC ALBA’s content must be highly distinctive and this new relationship for sports content creates many opportunities for more collaboration with Ireland.

“We are delighted to strengthen our very close relationship with the creative industries and this will be very important as we continue to secure resources that will enable us to produce more original programming for the channel that is necessary for it to prosper in future.”

John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, whose Education brief includes responsibility for Gaelic said: “‘I have been very impressed with the way MG ALBA works with Scotland’s independent TV production sector and it is fantastic to be able to welcome the signing of seven new contracts with Scottish firms.

“These agreements will not only ensure the continuation of quality output on BBC Alba, they will bring important economic and employment benefits for Scotland’s creative industries, broadcasting and Gaelic.

“I want to commend MG ALBA for their innovative way of working, congratulate the independent companies that have secured the contracts and look forward to the continued impressive performance of BBC ALBA.”

Irial Mac Murchú, Nemeton TV’s CEO said: “We are delighted to have won this contract. Producing sport for BBC ALBA in Scotland is an exciting challenge and one we relish. This new relationship cements many of the creative strands that resonate between Ireland and Scotland – language, sport and television. Whilst it is an international contract it feels like an extension of home to be working with our Celtic partners. We look forward to working with MG ALBA and BBC ALBA and developing the opportunities that lie ahead.”