Saturday 25 March 2017

New boss open to RTE working with media rivals

Dee Forbes, director general of RTE, at the Women Mean Business Conference and Awards 2016 in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. Photo: Jenny Barker Photography
Dee Forbes, director general of RTE, at the Women Mean Business Conference and Awards 2016 in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. Photo: Jenny Barker Photography
Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

RTE is to put an emphasis on creating more original Irish drama and increasing its international footprint, new director general Dee Forbes has said.

She also opened the door to working with the station's rivals as the Irish media landscape becomes more "busy".

"RTE has a duty to develop and encourage more great Irish talent. For me Irish drama is something we're looking at to see how can we do more of it." She added: "There was a time when every broadcaster had to go it alone, I don't think that's the case any more nor is it the prudent thing to do because there are times where partnering with your rival is the right thing to do."

Ms Forbes was speaking at the tenth annual Women Mean Business (WMB) Awards, where she spoke of her plans for her new role.

"I hope I'll bring a more international and external facing aspect to the role because I do think we're a small nation, we're a small media landscape, and really it's getting very busy here in terms of the media landscape."

She also touted the idea of a centralised Irish media hub, but said it was merely a thought. The Cork native will also look to capitalise on the Irish diaspora, of which she said only five million out of 40 are engaged with Irish media.

Ms Forbes has enjoyed a hectic start to life at the Montrose station with potential losses set to reach €20m this year. Last month the former Discovery executive was also told by Communications Minister Denis Naughten that she must deal with the station's weakening finances without the help of an increase in the licence fee.

RTE has had to deal with the departure of four senior staff members over the last number of months, including former head of news and deputy director general Kevin Bakhurst.

Six awards were presented at the WMB conference in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin yesterday.

Complete Laboratory Solutions founder Evelyn O'Toole scooped the overall businesswoman of the year award, while Polar Ice's managing director Alison Ritchie received the WMB entrepreneur of the year award.

Other winners included FoodCloud co-founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O'Brien, who received the Newstalk social entrepreneur award.

Space Technology Ireland founder Professor Susan McKenna-Lawlor picked up the FEXCO woman in technology award while Silicon republic co-founder Ann O'Dea received the Boots empowering women accolade.

Dublin Cookie Company founders Elaine Cohalan and Jenny Synnott scooped the Sodexo newcomer award.

Irish Independent

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