Cross-border broadcasting of RTÉ and TG4 is set to continue for years to come. TG4 may also get a more prominent slot on Freeview.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has outlined plans to continue to support the availability of TV channels from the Republic in Northern Ireland. The ‘Up Next’ White Paper on UK broadcasting confirmed the Government’s intention to help fund the NImux, which broadcasts RTÉ One, RTÉ 2 and TG4 to audiences north of the border.
The NImux went on air in 2012 following digital switchover. This allowed viewers outside of the overspill range of transmitters in the Republic to access Irish channels alongside Freeview services. Previously, only TG4 was available in the Belfast area terrestrially. The NImux broadcasting licence is due to expire in 2024 after 12 years and requires renewal.
TG4, which argues for the same treatment as BBC Alba and S4C, may also benefit from an improved Freeview slot.
It has previously argued it should be available on Freeview channel 8. This would give the channel a high-ranking slot in Northern Ireland in the same way other minority language services are able to secure high-ranking slots in Scotland and Wales.
Previous Freeview channel reshuffles have left TG4 being demoted further down the list. Since the end of January, TG4 is on Freeview channel 53. (Viewers who receive a signal directly from the Republic may see TG4 on a different channel number.)
The Government says it will “consider the scope” to ensure the prominence of regional and minority language services in Northern Ireland. TG4 hasn’t benefitted from previous changes to prominence rules as it is not based in the UK.