BAI publishes Irish Language Data Collection Report

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has today (18.02.21) published its first Irish Language Data Collection Report. The project is one of several initiatives arising out of the BAI Irish Language Action Plan, which was launched in 2019 and which aims to promote and stimulate the development of Irish language programming and broadcasting services in the Irish audio-visual industry. The plan addresses five key areas, one of which relates to the collection of data. This commits the BAI to conducting focused Irish language monitoring of broadcasters to acquire a comprehensive picture of Irish language programme provision within the broadcasting sector.

The BAI initiated the Irish Language Data Collection project in 2020 and requested programme data and recordings from broadcasters for a specific week in October 2019, to begin to build a comprehensive knowledge base on the quantity and range of Irish language/bilingual programming that is being broadcast across the TV/radio sector on a weekly basis. This data was collated and analysed during 2020 and the Irish Language Data Collection Report sets out these findings. The report includes data in relation to Irish language/bilingual minutage and the total number of programmes broadcast during the requested week. It provides a detailed breakdown of the type of programmes broadcast, the target audience, the level of Irish, peak/off peak broadcast and a range of other data sets. Statistics are provided for TV and radio and are subdivided into broadcaster type and content format. It is envisaged that Irish programming data will be collected in this manner on an annual basis, to identify year-on-year trends, and reported on a biennial basis.

Among the findings contained in the report are:

  • During the seven-day analysis period (7th – 13th October 2019), a total of 718.93 hours of Irish / bilingual programming was broadcast, comprising 1,075 programmes.
  • Of the total minutage, radio accounted for 87% vs TV at 13%.
  • Of the 1,075 programmes, 736 programmes (68%) were broadcast on radio and 339 (32%) were broadcast on television.
  • Of the 1,075 programmes, 854 were Irish (79%) and 221 (21%) were bilingual.
  • Of the 1,075 programmes, 793 (74%) were broadcast from Monday to Friday.
  • Irish language broadcasters produced 644 out of 1,075 programmes, with 431 being produced by other broadcasters. On radio services, there was an even split in programme production, with Irish language broadcasters producing 50% of all programmes and 50% being produced by other broadcasters. On TV services, 94% of Irish/bilingual minutage originated from public service broadcasters.
  • Irish/bilingual programming on radio, for the most part, was targeted at general audiences or adults. The largest audience for TV programming was children, followed by general audiences.
  • The most popular programme format on radio was entertainment (57%), followed by factual programming (24%) and education (7.5%). In TV programming, the most popular format was animation (51%) followed by entertainment (19%) and factual programming (14.5%).

Commenting, Chief Executive of the BAI, Michael O’Keeffe said: “The BAI has long recognised the need to foster the development of quality Irish language programming in the Irish audio-visual sector. It is our belief that by building up a picture of the current quality and quantity of content, we can better identify the high and low points of programme delivery, and better target the areas requiring additional support. While not focused on compliance, the report reflects a good level of broadcaster adherence to Irish language programming commitments, while also identifying areas for future improvement.”

He added: “We are committed to collecting and collating data on an ongoing basis, to enhance industry knowledge and public awareness of Irish language/bilingual programming and to identify opportunities for future development. We would like to thank the Irish Language Advisory Committee and all participating broadcasters for their input and support in relation to this important initiative.”

The Irish Language Data Collection Report is available here.


Media contact: Thelma Harris / Joanne Ahern, DHR Communications, Tel: 083-0517622 / 087-9881837.

All other queries: BAI, 01-6441200.

Notes to editors:

  • This research covered 60 radio and tv stations licensed by the BAI and the seven public service broadcasting stations.
  • Fionnuala Murphy or Sara McNamara is available for interview.
  • The BAI Irish Language Action Plan is available at and is implemented with the assistance of the BAI/Foras na Gaeilge Irish Language Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from the BAI, Foras na Gaeilge, Oireachtas na Gaeilge, RTÉ, TG4, CRAOL, IBI and SPI.