BAI launches public consultation on draft Sound & Vision 4 scheme

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (25.09.19) launched a public consultation on its draft Sound & Vision 4 scheme, which will replace the existing Sound & Vision 3 scheme.  The Sound & Vision schemes provide funding for high quality programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience; programmes to improve adult and media literacy; and programmes to raise public awareness and understanding of global issues impacting on the State.

The BAI’s Sound & Vision and Archiving schemes are established further to the provisions of section 154 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 to provide financial support for programme production and programme archiving, using funds from 7% of the net television licence fee receipts.

Funding of €54.8m has been awarded to 1,200 productions in the lifetime of Sound & Vision 3, providing 2,654 hours of Irish content, broadcast on television and radio since 2015.  A further 10 productions were awarded €207,505 under the ‘Ancillary Measures’ in the scheme, supporting the development of Irish language programmes and international co-productions.

Following a statutory review of Sound & Vision 3, the BAI has prepared a new draft funding scheme, Sound & Vision 4, and is now seeking the views of the public, the production industry, broadcasters and other interested parties on the proposed scheme.  The BAI’s consultation document presents the Sound & Vision 4 scheme and sets out the proposed changes to the current scheme.  Submissions may be made by email, post or on the BAI’s website.  The deadline for submissions to the consultation is Tuesday, 5th November 2019.

The BAI reviews the operation, effectiveness and impact of its funding schemes every three years as required by section 158 of the Broadcasting Act 2009.  In 2019, the BAI appointed independent research company Mediatique to undertake a statutory review of Sound & Vision 3.  This included a review of internal BAI data, secondary research, a bespoke consumer survey (delivered by Ipsos MRBI), an online survey of producers and stakeholder interviews.  The review highlighted the value of Sound & Vision 3 to Irish audiences in providing a diverse range of programmes with significant audience appeal, as well as programmes for niche interests.  The review also noted the positive impact of the scheme in sustaining jobs and promoting skills and training in the audiovisual sector.

A key recommendation of the review was for the BAI to continue as the body administering any future programme funding schemes.  The review also recommended changes to the scheme to account for technological changes in content delivery and consumption; to encourage programmes on underrepresented themes of adult literacy, media literacy and raising awareness of global issues; to further support local and community broadcasting; and to improve the systems used to assess funding applications and communicate decisions to applicants.  A number of further recommendations emerging from the review concern the operation of a future scheme, rather than a scheme policy document. The BAI will consult with relevant stakeholder groups on operational matters at the end of this year and in early 2020.

Informed by the review recommendations, the BAI prepared a draft Sound & Vision 4 scheme and is now seeking views on this, with a focus on the following five areas:

  1. Allowing funded programmes to be distributed online before broadcast on television or radio (‘digital first’).
  2. Increasing the use of ‘Ancillary Measures’, with a focus on (a) adult literacy, media literacy and global issues initiatives and (b) supporting community and local broadcasters.
  3. New approaches to funding the development of community and local broadcasting, in addition to any initiatives under ‘Ancillary Measures’.
  4. Introducing a standardised scoring system for assessing funding applications.
  5. Maintaining the principle of open funding rounds.

Speaking about the public consultation, chief executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe, said: “The BAI recognises how important Sound & Vision is for producing programmes that portray the Irish experience in all its complexity and diversity and enrich the broadcasting schedules for Irish audiences.  We are pleased the review of Sound & Vision 3 recognised the BAI’s role in the success of the scheme and recommended the BAI continue as sponsor of any new funding scheme.  We now look forward to hearing the views of all parties on the ways we can improve and build on this success with Sound & Vision 4.

After the closing date, the BAI will consider all submissions to the consultation in finalising the Sound & Vision 4 scheme, which will be submitted to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment for approval.  The BAI expects to implement Sound & Vision 4 early next year, following further engagement with relevant stakeholders.


Contact: Sebastian Enke / Tony Heffernan, DHR Communications. Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-3234946 / 087-2399508

Notes for Editors:

  • The consultation document is available here.
  • A copy of the ‘Review of Sound & Vision 3’ report can be found here.