TG4 spent 25.8 million euros on creative services in 2020, with the majority of that going towards ordering content from regional independent production companies, according to its annual report for the “exceptionally difficult” year.
The public service broadcaster collected â¬ 40.36m in total revenue last year, up 4.6% from 2019 as additional government funding was secured to cover costs triggered by the crisis of Covid-19.
While TG4’s initial public treasury funding was â¬ 34.32 million, the same as in 2019, it subsequently received an additional grant of â¬ 1.9 million. Commercial revenues fell only 2.2% to 4.23 million euros, which he called a “very solid performance” in light of the pandemic.
Operating expenses for TG4, which turns 25 on October 31, rose 5.15% to â¬ 39.96 million last year.
It has spent â¬ 20.6 million on commissions from independent production companies, while 77 percent of its public funding has been invested in Irish language content. Program spending increased 6.1 percent, while staff costs increased 6.2 percent.
The broadcaster’s response to the pandemic included ordering a new CÃºla4 ar Scoil educational series to meet demand from home students, as well as programs such as DÃºiseacht, a documentary series about life on the Dingle Peninsula at the release of the first lock, and Le Ceangal, a “Zoom-com” intended for Internet users.
The year was marked by its continued investment in the Irish language cinema initiative Cine4, also supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Screen Ireland (FÃs Ãireann), with the film Arracht selected as the Irish entry. in the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars. Category. Another Cine4 commission, Foscadh, was selected this year.
Despite the chaos in the live sports calendar, TG4 retained its position as the Republic’s sixth most-watched television channel in 2020, having gained one spot from seventh in 2019.
Some 3.66 million people, or 83% of the population, watched TG4 at some point in 2020, while its average audience share was 1.83% and its peak-hour audience share was slightly increased to 1.92%.
“This share and chain position has been a considerable achievement in 2020 given that a significant amount of TG4 production has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, productions having been suspended or delayed, and numerous sporting and cultural events. have been canceled, âsaid the managing director. Alain Esslemont.
Amid a “major acceleration” in non-linear consumption, streams on TG4 Player soared 158% last year, streams on CÃºla4 Player increased by 34%, and media account views Popular social of TG4 increased by 60%.
The broadcaster, which employs 92 people and commissions all of its programs from the independent sector, received a â¬ 3.5 million increase in its annual budget for 2020 and was recently allocated an additional â¬ 4.2 million in the 2022 budget – the biggest increase it has received since. 2008.
âWe believe this additional funding reflects the government’s confidence in TG4 and our strategy for Ireland’s regional independent production sector,â said SiÃºn NÃ Raghallaigh, cathaoirleach (chairman) of the TG4 board of directors .
But it is “imperative” for TG4 to cope with changes in the media market, including the growing influence of streamers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus, she said.
“The growth of these highly funded services in Ireland means growth of very rich English language content and they endanger Irish culture and histories and the Irish language.”
Over the past year, Mr. Esslemont has drawn attention to a “major imbalance” in public service media funding that only allowed him to receive 18.4% of RTÃ’s royalty funding in 2019. , while highlighting a âlong-term systemic underfundingâ. public service media of the Republic compared to other markets of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).
Awaiting the outcome of the Future of Media Commission’s deliberations on the way forward for funding, TG4 is set to celebrate the âmilestoneâ of its 25th anniversary on Halloween.
âWhereas 25 years ago, Irish society opposed the creation of TeilifÃs na Gaeilge, a quarter of a century has seen the emergence of TG4 as a true force for audiovisual innovation in the Irish languageâ, a said Mr. Esslemont.
“The Board of Directors, management and staff of TG4, as well as our partners, will continue our efforts to reinvent the role of TG4 and the status of the Irish language and Gaeltacht in Irish society.”