BAI launches public consultation 2014-2016

Relevant Irish content for Irish audiences must have a central place in any view of the future of broadcasting, according to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland which today launched a public consultation on its strategy for the next three years.

Speaking at the launch, Bob Collins, Chairperson of the BAI, said: “Recent years have seen enormous change in Ireland’s broadcasting sector. There has been a dramatic rise in the levels of external television content – as opposed to Irish-made content – available to audiences. There has also been a significant change in the ways in which people access content.

“Changes in new media and technologies have challenging implications for broadcasters and for the BAI as a broadcasting regulator. At a time when questions are being raised about what constitutes a viewer or listener and how broadcasting fits into a new media landscape it means that the BAI must position itself to regulate effectively in a new media environment, keeping a core focus on audience to guide its work.”

Under Section 29 of the Broadcasting Act 2009, the BAI is required to produce a statement of strategy every three years, reflecting the statutory functions of the Authority, the Contract Awards Committee and the Compliance Committee. The new strategy will cover the period 2014 to 2016. In it, the BAI sets out its objectives for the next three years, and the manner in which it wants to engage with the public and with the broadcasting sector more generally.

A draft strategy statement is available as part of the consultation launched today. Broadcasters, members of the viewing and listening public, and other interested individuals and organisations have until 22nd October to respond to the draft statement. Submissions may be made online, by email or by post.

While acknowledging the pace of change that has been occurring in the media sector over the past number of years, today’s launch event also recognised that this change has been uneven demographically and that traditional methods of accessing broadcasting content still remain strong. Speaking at the launch, Damian Loscher, Managing Director of the research company Ipsos MRBI, said: “How we consume TV and radio is changing, but not at the frantic pace we have been led to believe. By and large, we remain creatures of habit in terms of where, when and what we watch and listen to”.

Bob Collins emphasised the importance of building on the organisation’s previous statement of strategy: “A very significant body of work has been achieved by the BAI in the first four years of its existence. However, there is no room for complacency. The BAI must ensure that the fundamental interests and entitlements of the viewers and listeners are protected at all times. Working with broadcasters, we must also ensure that broadcasting properly reflects the nature and composition of our society and that the voices of those who are currently often under-represented, including women, are heard. The BAI must track and keep pace with change and position ourselves to be capable of maintaining our role as a guarantor of a diverse and vibrant broadcasting sector, whatever form that may take over the coming years.”

The BAI’s draft Strategy Statement – along with supporting information – is available to view now at baifuture.ie. During the consultation period, anyone wishing to make a submission on the draft statement can do so through this website, by email to strategy@bai.ie, or by post to: Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, 2-5 Warrington Place, Dublin 2.

Bob Collins & Michael O'Keeffe from BAI & Damian Loscher from IpsosMRBI
Bob Collins & Michael O’Keeffe from BAI & Damian Loscher from IpsosMRBI

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