UK pubcaster BBC has committed to invest £20 million (US$24.9) in its services across Scotland, including the launch of a new channel.
Slated to launch in 2018, BBC Scotland will broadcast every evening from 7 p.m. until midnight with a particular focus on factual and dramatic content. The new channel will also be made available online and via iPlayer in HD across Scotland and the UK.
BBC Scotland will also work in partnership with the creative sector, other national institutions and other broadcasters to produce and acquire content, while also collaborating with other BBC television channels to offer additional content.
The BBC’s investment consists of $24 million in the Scottish linear channel and in digital developments, plus an additional $1.5 million into BBC Alba, which airs programming in the Gaelic language. Together with existing funding, the channel will have an initial budget of more than $37 million.
In 2015/16, the British pubcaster spent approximately $81 million on UK-wide television content made in Scotland. That number is expected to increase by an average of $25 million annually, in comparison, over the next three years, according to the BBC.
All of this combined amounts to the biggest single investment by the BBC in broadcast content in Scotland in more than 20 years, the pubcaster said.
“We know that viewers in Scotland love BBC television, but we also know that they want us to better reflect their lives and better reflect modern Scotland. It is vital that we get this right. The best way of achieving that is a dedicated channel for Scotland,” said BBC director-general Tony Hall in a statement.
“It’s a channel that will be bold, creative and ambitious, with a brand-new Scotland-edited international news program at its heart. The BBC has the luxury of having first-class creative teams and brilliant journalists, who I know will make this new channel a huge success.”
The proposals are subject to approval by the BBC’s new unitary board and by Ofcom, the government-approved regulatory and competition authority in the UK.
The BBC will set out its plans for Northern Ireland and Britain globally in the coming weeks.