Friday 30 September 2016

RTE needs to be 'clearer' about its brand - new Director General

Sean Duffy

Published 14/09/2016 | 14:17

Dee Forbes, the new director general of RTE
Dee Forbes, the new director general of RTE

The new Director General of RTE, Dee Forbes, has said that the national broadcaster needs to be "clearer" about what the brand represents in her first interview since taking the job.

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Ms Forbes was speaking at Mediacon, a television and technology summit held in Dublin city centre.

Ms Forbes spoke of the need for RTE to become adaptable in the current media environment, which she stressed was shifting all the time.

"The business is changing around us and we need to change with it," she said.

The effect of Brexit on the company's revenues was also addressed, with Ms Forbes acknowledging that current conditions were challenging owing to a retrenchment from UK firms and RTE's exposure to exchange rate fluctuations.

Ms Forbes stated that one of her primary goals as Director General was to "Futureproof" the national broadcaster to make sure it remains viable while also fulfilling its obligations as a publicly funded entity.

She added that more needs to be done to ensure that licence fee avoidance is stopped.

"Ireland has one of the highest rates of licence fee avoidance rates in Europe. It is at 16pc, so I think there really is some low hanging fruit there on that front"

Ms Forbes hinted that as an organisation, RTE may have to review current practices in Donnybrook: "We need to ask ourselves: Is this possible for the future, and if not, what do we need to do differently?"

The prospect of collaboration with other Irish media outlets was also raised, and she said that she remained open to speaking to any organisation keen to work with RTE. However, she said she believed that RTE should be " the creative beacon" of Irish output.

RTE needs to engage more with local communities she said, adding that the broadcaster's team of local correspondents around the country should be used to better reflect the concerns of local communities.

"We need to listen more and engage more."

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