BBC online cutbacks turn spotlight on management of RTE combined income
THE news this week that the BBC will cut its online budget by a quarter while significantly shrinking its coverage of some news and reducing the number of "non-core" websites did not go unnoticed on this side of the water.
The BBC is not the only national broadcaster with a licence fee that has been under pressure to cut back on its web offering.
RTE has been criticised in the past for running a number of websites that would seem to bear little relation to its public service remit. Dating services for example do not strike this column as being a great use of the licence fee, although some may disagree.
Despite the obvious comparison, however, Frank Cullen, who as chief executive of the National Newspapers of Ireland which represents just about every national newspaper in the country, points out that the two situations are not directly comparable.
"The main difference is that the BBC is not funded commercially to the same extent as RTE.
"RTE has both commercial funding and the licence fee so it can operate at a different level to other media companies in the country, particularly the print industry.
"The BBC's changes were a step in the right direction but in the context of RTE it is really only a start. There is still a huge amount of information available for free that undermines the commercial enterprises.
"Unlike commercial media, RTE can take a risk on a new product or investment because it is underpinned by some €200m of a compulsory tax in the form of the licence fee. When you rely exclusively on commercial funding, especially advertising, your margin for error is much smaller.
"We have made representations to the government on this issue but that is now in limbo given the political situation."
New app 'Health
Mate' from Aviva
AVIVA have launched "Health Mate", a new app for Android apparently for people who want to get active in the New Year.
The multi-media centre allows users to post directly to Facebook and link directly into their music playlists. The app, already available for iPhone, provides the user with everything they need to exercise and proactively manage their own health so there's no excuse to avoid exercising. Another new feature of the app is push notifications with helpful nutrition and exercise tips on how to get in shape and stay motivated.
The app uses the integrated GPS to track your progress as you walk or run. It will also keep track of your BMI, pace and calories burned allowing the user to monitor exercise progress everyday. Health Mate is the only pedometer app that provides detailed localised information for the Irish market. It comes pre loaded with 100 popular walking and running trails right across the country.
It also offers a map view of each route, detailed directions and a function to save your favourite routes.
RTE 11 in for
Celtic Media gong
ELEVEN RTÉ television and radio broadcasts are short listed for the 2011 Celtic Media Awards across 10 different categories. There are seven television programmes, three radio programmes and one radio personality nominated. Raidio na Gaeltachta has been short listed for Station of the Year.
The station previously won the award in 2009 and was short listed in 2010. The nominees include Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí, presenter of Rónán Beo @3 on RnaG, is nominated for Radio Personality of the Year.
The School, a documentary series following the students and teachers of St Peter's College Dunboyne over one academic year, is nominated in the Factual Series category. Voices from the Grave, a one-off documentary featuring interviews with Brendan Hughes and David Ervine, is nominated in the factual single category while Vincent O'Brien -- The Master, a documentary following the life and career of the acclaimed National Hunt trainer, is nominated in the Sports category.
PEMBROKE Communications has been appointed as the PR agency for VisitScotland in the Republic of Ireland. Pembroke won the account after a public tender and pitch process and will initially manage the tourist board's Winter White campaign which runs until middle of March 2011. The account will be managed by Pembroke's consumer division which includes clients such as Bord Gais Energy, Hotels.com, Dublin Zoo, Peter Mark and Crown Paints.