Friday 20 October 2017

RTE 'only gets a small percentage' of DWTS premium vote-line cash

Presenters Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne on Dancing with the Stars. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Presenters Amanda Byram and Nicky Byrne on Dancing with the Stars. Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

RTE has said it only takes “a percentage” of the revenue generated from the voting lines on Dancing With The Stars Ireland. 

One of the top-rated shows, Irish viewers have been voting in their droves to keep their favourite celebrity in the competition since it first aired in January.

But despite thousands of programme fans texting and calling premium-rate numbers over the past few weeks, RTE says the revenue generated by the voting system goes to a number of parties. 

It has to share the money raised between the network operator and the service provider, as well as the premium rate regulator. 

Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Judges Brian Redmond Lorraine Barry and Julian Benson during the Second live show of RTE’s Dancing with the Stars. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

Calls to the show cost 61c a minute – which includes VAT of 23pc – while texts cost 60c. 

When asked what fraction of the revenue generated from the system goes to RTE, a spokesperson would only say that it got a “percentage” of it.

She said she couldn’t reveal more detailed information on the voting system as it was it was deemed “commercially sensitive”.

“RTE is a non-profit organisation and any revenue generated from premium-rate calls and texts is re-invested to provide a quality service to its audience,”she said.  

However, an RTE source said that Dancing With The Stars was not considered to be a “large revenue generator” and that these kind of programmes didn’t raise half as much money as they used to. “People don’t interact with these shows as much as they would have in the past.

“That’s a changing element of voting-style shows that means they wouldn’t get as many votes as they used to, which has a knock-on effect on how much is actually raised from them,” he said.

“RTE would only get a small percentage of the revenue, once it’s divided up between the other parties.”

With a rumoured budget of around €2.5m, the show is one of the most expensive productions that RTE has ever staged.

But the gamble appears to have paid off, given its popularity with the audience.

Just seven celebrities remain in the competition, which has been attracting viewing figures of more than 550,000.

This Sunday will see things alter slightly, as producers introduce the “dance-off”.

That means that the couples voted to be in the bottom two will have to compete against each other to stay in the show, with the trio of judges deciding who will stay and who will go.

Meanwhile, Julian Benson is expected to return to the panel this weekend after being struck down by pneumonia. 

He had been replaced temporarily by former BBC Strictly champion Darren Bennett, who joined judges Brian Redmond and Loraine Barry on the show.

A source said they were “hopeful” that Julian (inset) would be able to return to the show this Sunday, now that he was on the road to recovery.

Herald

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