The BAI invites you to provide your views on the content of the draft BAI Sound & Vision 4 policy document.

The BAI would encourage all potential respondents to read the ‘Draft Sound & Vision 4 Public Consultation’ document issued by the Authority to assist potential respondents in making a submission. This document sets out the proposed changes to the scheme and the rationale underlining each proposed change.

Supporting Documentation

You can submit your views in a number of ways. Please see section ‘How to make a submission’ below.

The closing date for submissions on the draft document has been extended to Wednesday, 13th November 2019.

About the Consultation

Welcome to the consultation on the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s draft Sound & Vision 4 Broadcasting Funding Scheme document. This document sets out the proposed new programming funding scheme which will replace the existing scheme, Sound & Vision 3, for the period 2020 – 2024.

The BAI completed a Statutory Review of Sound & Vision 3 in July 2019.   A number of key findings and recommendations emerged from the review process.  The BAI has attempted to address these key issues in the development of Sound & Vision 4.

The BAI is now inviting views on the proposed content of the Sound & Vision 4 scheme as part of a public consultation process.  The submissions received in response to this public consultation will inform the Authority’s decisions in respect of the final scheme document.

This consultation deals with the Scheme document only.   The BAI will develop plans and guidance documentation to support the implementation of Sound & Vision 4 in the last quarter 2019 and first quarter 2020.

2. Introduction

Sound & Vision 4 is a programming support scheme operated by the BAI and funded through the television licence fee. A key objective of this Scheme is to support the creation of accessible programming that reflects Irish culture, history, language and diversity, programming that has a cultural and/or community purpose for a diversity of Irish audiences.  This is the fourth iteration of the Scheme.

The Scheme document sets out the key elements of the Scheme in terms of the role of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”), the objectives, scope, available funding and the operational processes.  The BAI will publish supporting documentation for potential applicants on funding rounds and any associated development measures regularly over the lifetime of the Scheme.

3. Role of the BAI (& question 1)

Part 10 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 (“the Act”) makes provision for disbursement of 7% of the net television licence fee receipts (“the Broadcasting Fund”) through a funding scheme, or schemes developed and managed by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (“BAI”) and approved by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (“the Minister”).

Section 3 of the draft Scheme document sets out the Authority’s approach to the implementation of the Scheme.  It has regard to: Scheme funding categories; Scheme objectives; the Authority’s strategic objectives;  and, the Authority’s core values.

A key mission of the Authority’s  Strategy Statement is to ‘foster diverse and culturally relevant content for Irish audiences’.  In this context, in developing and publishing programming schemes further to the Broadcasting Fund, the Authority aims to ensure that:

there is an increase in the range and sources of quality culturally relevant audio / audiovisual content, including in the Irish language, available to Irish audiences and that Irish audio / audiovisual media is more diverse in terms of content as well as in terms of those involved in its production. 


4. Scope of Sound & Vision 4 (& questions 2 - 6)

Sound & Vision 4 will support radio and television programmes on public, commercial and community broadcasting channels that meet the legislative requirements in terms of availability to Irish audiences.  It offers funding support for the production of new quality television and radio programmes on the following four themes: a) Irish culture, heritage and experience; b) Adult Literacy or Media Literacy; c) Global issues; and, d) Irish language.

The BAI accepts applications covering all programming formats and genres with the exception of programmes which are produced primarily for news and current affairs.  Applications may be submitted by television or radio broadcasters or by independent producers.   There are eligibility criteria which set the minimum standard which must be achieved in order to be eligible to apply for funding.  This includes: a) Requirement to broadcast (broadcaster letter); b) peak broadcasting (as defined by BAI); c) Access (facilitate the understanding and enjoyment of television programmes by people who are deaf or with hearing difficulties and/or people who are blind or partially sighted); and, d) exclusions (i. activities not directly related to programme-making or delivery, ii. capital funding or iii. depreciation).

Digital First Principle

The BAI is of the view that the new Scheme must be broadcast based given the findings of the review report, but must also take cognisance of the emerging consumption patterns of younger audiences.  In this regard, it is proposed to permit successful applicants to distribute resultant content on digital platforms in advance of being broadcast (‘digital first’ as opposed to ‘digital only’).  For example, this may include podcasting for radio content.  The parameters for this principle will be set out in any relevant guidance documentation if the proposal is in the final Scheme document.

Ancillary Measures

The BAI will implement such ancillary measures as it deems appropriate to support the achievement of the objectives of this scheme.  This could allow, but is not limited to, measures to assist community broadcasters to meet their social benefit obligations, or measures to support adult/media literacy or global issue initiatives and/or the provision of some development support for programmes to address themes, genres or formats underrepresented in the general applications received and/or for partnerships with like-minded bodies.


5. Funding (& questions 7 & 8)

The ratio of television and radio funding stands at 85%:15%. Given the high cost differential between television and radio production, this ratio is considered generally appropriate.  The BAI will actively monitor and review the appropriateness of this ratio over the lifetime of the Scheme, in the context of the objectives and any support schemes developed for the TV and/or radio broadcasting sectors, and it will be altered if required.  In this regard, the BAI may establish funding support measures for the development of broadcasting, including local and community broadcasters.

A minimum of 20% – 25% of funding will be allocated to programming in the Irish language.

In general, the BAI allocates grants under Sound & Vision 4 that represent up to 95% of the eligible costs of the programme. Applicants are required to provide full details regarding the level and source of other funding for all aspects of the budget.  For audiovisual works, the programme must be difficult to make, low budget or counteract the limited geographic extension of certain languages and cultures.


The BAI will generally allocate funding using a funding rounds system.  Funding allocated in respect of radio and television programming under Sound & Vision 4 is provided only in respect of programming which, in the opinion of the BAI, is likely to be broadcast. The BAI therefore generally offers grant-aid to support the production phase of programme-making only.

The BAI will generally include a recoupment clause in all contracts for programming made under Sound & Vision 4.  Applicants in receipt of funding from the BAI are contractually required to formally acknowledge this support in a format acceptable to the Authority.  The Authority reserves the right to issue applicants with guidelines specifying precise requirements in this regard.


6. Application, Assessment & Awards (& questions 9 & 10)

The primary concern for the BAI is that the application, assessment and award processes are transparent, equitable and verifiable.  The BAI has agreed and operated broad principles in respect of these processes as outlined below.  The BAI will make information in relation to the processes and procedures for making applications, the assessment process, contracting and disbursement publicly available.

The BAI will publish information on upcoming funding activities and will include: details on how to make submissions, eligibility information, application timeframes, details of assessment criteria and other supplementary information as deemed appropriate.

The assessment process consists of the following four phases: 1. Preliminary evaluation (eligibility of applicant/application); 2. Qualitative assessment (assessment criteria published to inform potential applicants when making a submission; 3. Strategic assessment (second evaluation phase); and, 4. Formal ratification (consideration by Authority).

Where the BAI has approved an application for funding the BAI informs the applicant of the decision, setting out any condition(s) attaching to the offer.  The BAI will then make public a list of the funding offers ratified by the Authority.  The successful applicant must confirm his/her acceptance of the offer of funding and is required to enter into a contractual agreement with the BAI, on terms to be specified by the BAI. Funds are administered by the BAI in accordance with the terms of the contractual agreement.

Where the BAI has rejected an application for funding, applicants are notified individually and provided with information on the performance of their application in the assessment process.

The BAI will develop a standardised points system to inform the evaluation of applications and the feedback provided to an applicant.


7. Review of Sound & Vision 4 (& questions 11 & 12)

As provided for under Section 158 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, the BAI will review the operation, effectiveness and impact of Sound & Vision 4 every three years, or at such other time as may be requested by the Minister, and make a written report to the Minister on the review.

The purpose of such a review is to measure the success of Sound & Vision 4 against its objectives and the robustness of the Scheme then, and in the future, having regard to the everchanging media landscape, including the evolving media consumption patterns amongst Irish audiences and in particular, younger audiences.  In order to be in a position to undertake a meaningful review, the BAI monitors all aspects of the scheme on an ongoing basis.


How to make a submission

Potential respondents should read the consultation document issued by the BAI which details the rationale for the proposed draft programme funding scheme.

You can submit your views in a number of ways.

You can respond to a question, or questions, using the response form/s in the Sections above, or you can upload a response using the e-mail form at the bottom of this page.

Please note that if you are not answering the question(s) in each section and/or are uploading a document, please ensure that you tick the box titled ‘I do not wish to answer every question’ in each section.

Alternatively, you can submit your response in writing to: Sound & Vision 4 Consultation, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin D02XP29.

The closing date for submission on the draft document is Wednesday, 13th November 2019.

Contact Information