TG4 will appoint a manager to develop its children’s production Cúla4 into a fully linear channel, while also seeking to express their interest to independent producers for topical content.
The public service broadcaster explained how it plans to allocate the annual budget increase of 4.2 million euros it received in the 2022 budget, saying news and current affairs are “at the heart “of its mission and that it intended to increase its investments in programs aimed at children and young audiences.
Cúla4 is already available as a separate channel on some pay TV platforms, but it currently offers two blocks of programming rather than a more comprehensive schedule similar to RTÉjr, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
TG4 said a dedicated channel would “strengthen young people’s engagement with the Irish language”.
In addition to appointing a manager to lead the development of the channel, TG4 will hire a new presenter for Cúla4 who will act as a “young ambassador” for the broadcaster on and off. It will also step up the launch of its online Bloc brand.
The current affairs surge follows TG4’s publication of research earlier this year that showed Irish speakers want coverage that has its own editorial perspective and that is not a direct translation of current affairs in English.
TG4 Managing Director Alan Esslemont also raised concerns that TG4’s Nuacht service, which is provided by RTÉ, is not a sufficiently distinctive brand.
“TG4 is grateful to Minister Catherine Martin and the government for the additional support TG4 received in Budget 2022, the largest increase ever in a year. This additional funding will allow us to start addressing the eight strategic areas contained in TG4’s post-Covid vision, ”Esslemont said on Friday.
TG4 said it “looks forward to” the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission regarding Irish language news and current affairs.
The broadcaster, which has requested annual funding increases of 9-10 million euros over the next four years, will also invest more in drama, education and talent development.