Wednesday, 18 November 2020
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
72. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will request the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to provide additional sound and vision funding to the sector covering the period September 2020 to February 2021 similar to the scheme rolled out in April 2020. [37215/20]
During 2020, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) held two closed rounds for radio, targeted at the independent commercial and community radio sectors respectively.
In June 2020, the BAI awarded €2.5m Sound and Vision funding to 32 independent commercial radio stations across the country supporting public awareness and understanding of COVID-19. This was in addition to a waiver on the broadcasting levy for the independent radio sector for Q1 and Q2 2020 which saved the sector €1m.
In addition, the BAI distributed €750,000 this year in a special round for the community radio sector.
The purpose of the Sound and Vision Scheme is to support eligible content across the broadcasting sector as a whole, ensuring a balanced and fair approach. In light of the ongoing challenges faced by the sector, I secured an additional €2m in exchequer funding for the Sound and Vision Scheme under the July Stimulus Package. This greatly enhanced the funding available for the final round of the Scheme this year (round 37), bringing its total value to €4.5m. This funding round is open to those elements of the radio sector that were not eligible for the rounds to commercial and community radio earlier in the year, namely independent audio producers and public service radio. In addition, the round is open to independent audiovisual producers, and commercial, community and public service television stations.
The Broadcasting Fund which comprises the Sound and Vision and Archiving Schemes is financed by 7% of net licence fee receipts and payments are made to the BAI monthly. The BAI is currently finalising the most recent round and no decisions regarding 2021 rounds have been made as yet.