Freeview Viewers Boost for BBC ALBA

The Gaelic language digital TV channel, BBC ALBA, has more than doubled its viewing figures since it went on Freeview and Virgin Media at the start of June.

According to figures just released, its reach (watching for any length of time during the course of a week) was some 12.9 per cent of Scotland's population aged 16 or over, ie 530,000 people.

Meanwhile, the number of people who tuned in for more than 15 minutes per week was 10.6 per cent of the Scottish adult population, equating to some 430,000 viewers.

Prior to June, the corresponding figures were 220,000 and 179,000 viewers, respectively.

During the four months since June, the average time viewers spent watching BBC ALBA per week was 1 hour 40 minutes.

BBC ALBA is a collaboration between the BBC and the Scotland Government-funded Gaellc media service, MG ALBA. 

Says Alasdair Morrison, chair of MG ALBA: “The new viewing figures for BBC ALBA over the first four months since being launched on Freeview are extremely encouraging, particularly since the summer is not regarded as a peak viewing time of the year for any television channel.

“However, it is still very much early days since the channel was launched on Freeview and the focus now is to continue to build on the channel’s current success to maintain a high level of viewers who are enjoying the premier package of home-grown productions and unique Scottish content with music, sport and documentaries being the most popular genres on the channel.

“Since it was launched, the channel has attracted much enthusiasm across Scotland from both Gaelic and non-Gaelic communities and it is pleasing to see so many new viewers embracing the high quality programming that BBC ALBA has to offer.”

Prior to the channel being made available on Freeview and Virgin Media’s Cable this summer, BBC ALBA was available solely through the satellite platforms Sky 168 and Freesat 110.

BBC ALBA was launched at 9pm on Friday, September 19, three years ago.