TG4 hails funding increase ahead of 25th birthday

Budget 2022 welcomed by Screen Producers Ireland and video games association Imirt

TG4 has welcomed the allocation of an additional €4.2 million to its annual budget in Budget 2022, the second consecutive budget in which the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has awarded it a "significant" funding increase.

The public-service broadcaster, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the end of this month, will receive €44.9 million from the exchequer next year.

"Today's announcement gives us all hope for 2022," said TG4 director general Alan Esslemont.

"The recommendations put forward in TG4's post-Covid vision document shows that TG4 and the board of TG4 have an ambitious vision for Irish-language media. We look forward to the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission to develop Irish-language media further," he said.


Screen funding

Screen Producers Ireland (SPI), the representative sector for independent production companies, welcomed the TG4 budget increase as well as an increase in State development agency Screen Ireland's capital funding to €32 million and the €5.5 million that will be allocated to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland as it prepares to transform into a new regulatory body, the Media Commission.

"Screen Ireland's substantial 22 per cent increase in capital funding to €32 million, on top of the significant increase of €9 million the agency received in 2021, shows the confidence the Government has in the creative screen sector," said SPI chief executive Susan Kirby.

“This increase in capital will enable more Irish independent production companies to develop and produce the type of dynamic, diverse and award-winning content that we have come to expect in recent years.”

The TG4 funding increase will enable more Irish-language production companies to create employment and economic opportunities, Ms Kirby added.

Both TG4 and SPI expressed gratitude to Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin, with Ms Kirby saying the Budget 2022 measures reflected Ms Martin's confidence in the independent production sector.

Digital gaming

The Irish creative sector was also boosted by confirmation from Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe that a new digital gaming tax credit is on its way, with relief of 32 per cent available on corporation tax up to €25 million per project.

“We’re delighted the government is introducing the tax credit for digital games”, said Craig Stephens from Imirt, the Irish video games industry association.

“This globally significant 32 per cent tax credit will support our existing games development talent enormously, plus attract major investment from overseas. Ireland is ideally positioned to secure more of the rapidly expanding $300 billion worldwide industry,” Mr Stephens said.

“We look forward to our ongoing conversations with the Government to ensure the new credit can benefit as many video games developers as possible”.

Deloitte tax partner Caroline O'Driscoll said past experience with the R&D and Section 481 film and television tax credits proved how valuable these targeted measures can be.

“Building on that success, the introduction of a tax credit to encourage growth in digital gaming is a welcome development for the media industry in Ireland,” she said.

KPMG tax partner Damien Flanagan said the headline 32 per cent rate was "very attractive" and would help Ireland become "more relevant" in gaming. With Irish digital gaming employment currently only standing at about 2,000, there is "lots of room for growth", he said.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics