BAI to evaluate opening Sound and Vision fund to web content

19 Nov 2010

The chief executive of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Michael O’Keeffe said he is willing to look into the potential of including made-for-internet drama and other filmed content in the Sound & Vision fund, a vitally important fund for Ireland’s broadcasting industry.

Speaking at the Audio Visual Federation conference Digital Content and the Creative Economy, O’Keeffe said he recognises the growing convergence of media and how broadcasting and the internet are becoming one, especially with the onset of web-connected TVs.

He also noted the growing tendency for internet-originated content to make the crossover to mainstream television, such as the Hardy Bucks and Republic of Telly.

“The balance will have to shift because as new media takes on a greater role there will have to be a minimum tier of regulation and we’re going to have to address this and update regulation because things are happening at a quicker pace.

Regulation will need to change to keep pace

O’Keeffe said the Broadcasting Act 2009 specifically excludes the internet for regulation. “But there will be a need for regulators to look at that. There will always be a place for regulation of content, and to allow new content and services to develop things will need to change.”

Asked about the potential to open up the Sound & Vision Fund to include content creators who develop broadcast-quality content for the internet first, O’Keeffe said: “At this minute, it is a broadcasting fund and the criterion is that it must be broadcast. But there are opportunities in the current framework and because it is specifically for broadcast it doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities.

Hardy Bucks was developed first for online but became a broadcast product. There are opportunities to develop outside the traditional framework and we must evolve over the coming years,” O’Keeffe said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years