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MG ALBA Welcomes BBC Alba Audience Figures

MG ALBA, the Gaelic Digital Media Service, has welcomed the viewing figures released for BBC ALBA, the new Gaelic television channel, with more than 600,000 viewers tuning in over its first week.
Channel executives attribute the success of the first week to the distinctive and attractive menu of programmes offered to the viewer.
The research findings indicate that:
  • There are many more viewers of BBC ALBA than there are Gaelic speakers indicating interest amongst the wider population of Scotland
  • Gaelic is felt to be an important part of Scottish life and heritage
  • Viewers in the Highlands and islands and in the core Gaelic audience, see the channel as highly relevant to them
BBC ALBA is a partnership service between MG ALBA and BBC Scotland.
Alasdair Morrison, Chairman of MG ALBA, the Gaelic Digital Media Service, said: "The viewing figures are tremendously encouraging and reflect the enthusiasm we have encountered across Scotland for the new channel.
"The figures are particularly pleasing when you consider that the channel is mainly transmitted on Sky and Freesat. We have received significant feedback in Gaelic and non-Gaelic communities that there is a real desire to see the channel being made more widely available in the near future.
"I would like to pass on my congratulations to everybody involved who has worked so hard towards making the channel an initial success."
Donald Campbell, Chief Executive of MG ALBA and Chair of the channel's overview board said: "We have had a highly successful launch at different levels, and it is especially pleasing that the channel has had such impact nationally and with the Gaelic audience despite the huge competition on digital television networks. We are well aware of the significant challenge that lies ahead to consolidate the channel as mainstream Scottish television, but this research encourages us to believe that the targets set by the BBC Trust for the service can and should be met."
Today's release by BBC ALBA revealed that TNS System Three research for the channel found that:
  • 15% of the adult Scottish population (610,000 viewers) tunedf in over the first week

  • Viewers in the Highlands and islands were the biggest consumers - 23%, almost one in four from the region watching BBC ALBA over the first week

  • 57% of the population (2.3m people) were aware of the new channel

  • The combined reach of BBC ALBA and the BBC ALBA programmes broadcast on BBC 2 was 860,000, 21% of the adult population of Scotland

Additional research carried out amongst Gaelic-speaking viewers by the Léirsinn agency for the MG ALBA/BBC partnership indicated that:

  • 82% of Gaelic speakers with access to the service had watched the channel over the first week

  • 87% of those viewers watched over two hours of BBC ALBA
Further information is available at:

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