TG4 to appoint kids’ channel manager and boost current affairs content

Broadcaster outlines how it will invest additional €4.2m received in budget

TG4, based in Connemara, Co Galway, plans to invest more in content aimed at kids and younger viewers. Photograph: TG4

TG4, based in Connemara, Co Galway, plans to invest more in content aimed at kids and younger viewers. Photograph: TG4

 

TG4 will appoint a manager to develop its Cúla4 children’s output into a full linear channel, while it is also seeking expressions of interest from independent producers for current affairs content.

The public service broadcaster has outlined how it plans to allocate the €4.2 million annual budget uplift it received in Budget 2022, saying news and current affairs were “at the heart” of its remit and that it intended to increase its investment in programmes aimed at children and younger audiences.

Separate channel

Cúla4 is already available as a separate channel on some pay-TV platforms, but it currently features two programming blocks rather than a fuller schedule similar to RTÉjr, which runs from 7am to 7pm.

TG4 said a dedicated channel would “strengthen young people’s engagement with the Irish language”.

As well as appointing a manager to direct the development of the channel, TG4 will hire a new presenter for Cúla4 who will act as a “youth ambassador” for the broadcaster offscreen as well as on. It will also step up commissioning for its online brand Bloc.

The current affairs push follows TG4’s publication of research earlier this year that showed Irish speakers want coverage that has its own editorial perspective and is not a direct translation of English language news.

TG4 director-general Alan Esslemont has also raised concerns that TG4’s Nuacht service, which is supplied by RTÉ, is not a distinctive enough brand.

Post-Covid vision

“TG4 is grateful to the Minister Catherine Martin and the Government for the additional support that TG4 received in Budget 2022, the largest increase ever given to us in any year. This additional funding will allow us to begin addressing the eight strategic areas contained in TG4’s Post-Covid Vision,” said Mr Esslemont on Friday.

TG4 said it “keenly awaits” the recommendations of the Future of Media Commission in relation to Irish language news and current affairs.

The broadcaster, which has sought annual funding increases of €9 million-€10 million over the next four years, will also invest more in drama, education and talent development.