Green light for BBC Gaelic service

The BBC Trust have approved a Gaelic TV channel for Scotland which will carry the news and weather as part of its ‘mixed genre’output.

The BBC partnership with the Gaelic Media Service (GMS) to launch a Gaelic Digital Service (GDS) will launch on cable, satellite and broadband but a Freeview launch will be subject to a public value review before digital switchover starts in Scotland in 2010. This will reduce the projected annual investment of licence fee resources in the distribution of this service by approximately £4 million per year.

The service will cost £20.8 million per year in total, and without provision on Freeview, the BBC’s new contribution to the service will be approximately £3.5 million per year. It will provide seven hours of broadcasting per day with ‘significantly enhanced” Gaelic content on bbc.co.uk. BBC 2’s Gaelic services will be retained.

Jeremy Peat, BBC National Trustee for Scotland, said: “The Trust has given the go ahead for the GDS to launch, but with conditions and some changes to the original plans, to ensure the best possible value for licence fee payers.

“The Trust believes this service will offer public value and be culturally significant for both Gaelic speakers and Scotland as a whole. The channel, to be operated by BBC Scotland and the Gaelic Media Service, must now seek to improve markedly the quality and quantity of broadcast support for the language, to extend the current audience for Gaelic programming and provide an exciting new service for licence fee payers across Scotland.”

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