Their ambition for Gaelic media underpins MG ALBA’s direction of travel as they publish their Annual Report in a year where the impact and value of Gaelic media has been an increasing focus.
The Annual Report contains an overview of the key moments MG ALBA and the wider Gaelic media sector have experienced throughout the year, with a wide range of programmes and media focused initiatives demonstrating the vibrant health of Gaelic media across a range of platforms.
It is not without concerns. Lack of growth in iPlayer viewings demonstrated the impact of a reduction in new original content, with very limited amounts of drama and comedy not being enough to consistently secure the younger audiences that BBC ALBA needs to engage with.
This was a year of where securing the future of Gaelic media in the digital media world has been paramount. The partnership behind SpeakGaelic created an innovative and vibrant multiplatform learning programme for Gaelic, modernising the ability to learn our language in the digital world and demonstrating the importance of collaboration to achieve results.
An economic impact assessment by Ekos showed a return on investment of £1.34 on every £1 spent on Gaelic media, illustrating why MG ALBA presented a vision of the future – Lèirsinn: A Route Map for Gaelic Media – which is ambitious but demonstrates what real investment could bring. MG ALBA’s Chair, Allan MacDonald, who highlights in his annual message that had MG ALBA’s funding kept pace with inflation since the inception of BBC ALBA in 2008, core funding this year would be in the region of £20 million as opposed to the actual level of £12.8million stated:
‘The BBC ALBA channel is currently not equipped to deliver for the audiences it serves. There must be a renewed settlement for Gaelic media that reflects the current times in which we live, and MG ALBA is working closely with the Scottish and UK Governments to deliver this. Securing Gaelic media in the digital domain is vital as a key component for the future of the Gaelic language within our communities. ‘
Speaking as the Annual Report was published, Chief Executive Donald Campbell, looked to the future but acknowledged that investment is needed for MG ALBA to deliver saying:
‘’MG ALBA is proud to present our vision of Gaelic media, outlining what could be achieved with the right funding. This underfunding is now significantly impacting on our ability to serve audiences with the wide and diverse range of content they deserve, particularly in the era of global streamers where competition for audiences is fierce. This must be addressed if we are to be confident of a future Gaelic media service that is relevant in the modern digital era for all our audiences.”