The Sound and Vision Scheme is primarily funded through the TV licence fee rather than exchequer funding. The Broadcasting Act, 2009 provides that 7% of net licence fee receipts are paid to the Broadcasting Fund which is administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) and supports both the Sound and Vision (S&V) and Archiving Schemes.
During 2020, the BAI held two closed rounds for radio, targeted at the independent commercial and community radio sectors respectively. In June 2020, the BAI awarded €2.5m Sound and Vision funding to 32 independent commercial radio stations across the country supporting public awareness and understanding of COVID-19. This was in addition to a waiver on the broadcasting levy for the independent radio sector for Q1 and Q2 2020 which saved the sector €1m.
In addition, the BAI distributed €750,000 this year in a special round for the community radio sector.
The purpose of the Sound and Vision Scheme is to support eligible content across the broadcasting sector as a whole, ensuring a balanced and fair approach. In light of the going challenges faced by the sector, I secured an additional €2m in exchequer funding for the Sound and Vision Scheme under the July Jobs Stimulus Package. This greatly enhanced the funding available for the final round of the Scheme this year (round 37), bringing its total value to €4.5m. This funding round is open to those elements of the radio sector that were not eligible for the rounds to commercial and community radio earlier in the year, namely independent audio producers and public service radio. In addition, the round is open to independent audiovisual producers, and commercial, community and public service television stations.
The BAI are currently assessing the applications with an announcement on awards expected shortly. Additional information is available at https://www.bai.ie/en/broadcasting/funding-development-3/sound-vision-4/#al-block-2.
The details of funding rounds to be held in 2021 are a matter for the BAI to decide, and these will be announced in the course of the year.