Saturday 10 December 2016

RTÉ gives majority of €34m budget to just 12 TV firms - despite 1,400 pitches from 356 firms

Gordon Deegan

Published 09/09/2016 | 02:30

The companies behind ‘Operation Transformation’, the ‘Voice of Ireland’ (pictured) and ‘Irish
First Dates’ were some of the big winners overall out of the €40.64m.
The companies behind ‘Operation Transformation’, the ‘Voice of Ireland’ (pictured) and ‘Irish First Dates’ were some of the big winners overall out of the €40.64m.

Just 12 companies got more than two-thirds of the €34m RTÉ paid out for independently produced TV shows commissioned last year.

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New figures show 356 independent production companies last year made more than 1,400 different pitches to RTÉ to secure some of the €40.64m available to make TV and radio shows in 2015 - of which €9m was paid for shows commissioned in 2014.

Lifestyle: Francis Brennan in ‘Grand Indian Tours'. Photo: David Conachy
Lifestyle: Francis Brennan in ‘Grand Indian Tours'. Photo: David Conachy

The 2015 annual report by RTÉ's Independent Production Unit confirms that, from the 1,402 proposals for TV and 128 for radio work, the unit commissioned 136 TV programme and 11 radio shows.

Just 12 firms got 67pc of the €33.69m allocated to newly commissioned shows.

The report states: "Television commissions with a value of €17m, representing 52pc of the value of new 2015 television commissions, were awarded to six independent production companies, and a further sum of €5m, or 15pc, was awarded to a further six independent production companies."

The companies behind 'Operation Transformation', the 'Voice of Ireland' and 'Irish First Dates' were some of the big winners out of the total of €40.64m. That figure is a small reduction on the €40.9m spent in 2014.

The figures show that the vast majority of firms - a total of 187 - that pitched are based in Dublin. Some 110 companies are located outside the capital, while a small number of overseas firms also pitched.

In addition to the €33.69m committed by RTÉ for new shows in 2015, producers of RTÉ-commissioned programming also attracted external funding of €10.9m, showing that the total value of independent RTÉ shows amounted to €44.6m.

The report shows that RTÉ spent €7.9m on 'Lifestyle and Formats' that includes shows such as 'Operation Transformation' and 'Francis Brennan's Grand Indian Tour'.

The total broadcast hours for 'Lifestyle and Formats' amounted to 87 hours.

A further €8m was spent on 123 hours of 'Drama, Sport and Young People's programmes.

In addition, the RTÉ independent production unit spent €6m on regional, education, religion and other factual programmes for 80 broadcast hours.

A further €12.6m was spent on 'Entertainment, Comedy and Music' to broadcast 105 hours.

One of the big winners in 2015 was Screentime Shinawil, which produced 28.5 hours of TV through its work on 'The Voice of Ireland' series 5.

Now that 'The Voice' has been axed, RTÉ has commissioned Screentime Shinawil to produce the next big Sunday night shiny floor show - the Irish version of 'Dancing with the Stars'.

Caboon/Blue Elf Productions produced six hours with 'The Mario Rosenstock Show'.

Coco Television also did very well, producing six hours of 'First Dates', 13 hours of 'Room to Improve' and eight hours of 'Don't Tell the Bride'.

Irish Independent

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