Friday 2 December 2016

RTE spent a whopping €335,000 on live coverage of 1916 ceremonies

Published 07/09/2016 | 07:39

The 1916 Rising centenary events coupled with an extensive St Patrick’s Festival helped draw 702,700 foreign visitors here in March. Photo: Cpl Colum Lawlor
The 1916 Rising centenary events coupled with an extensive St Patrick’s Festival helped draw 702,700 foreign visitors here in March. Photo: Cpl Colum Lawlor

RTE spent a total of €335,000 covering the 1916 State Commemoration ceremonies and parade at the GPO on Easter Sunday, the Herald can reveal.

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This included aerial footage for the programme, which covered a five-hour spell in Dublin’s city centre on March 27, 2016.

The historic event was described as the biggest broadcast for a State event since the visits of US President Barack Obama and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth back in May 2011, with RTE putting considerable resources into ensuring it was a success.

The live event on RTE One ran from 9.30am-2.30pm and included footage from Aras an Uachtarain, Kilmainham Gaol, the parade route through the city centre, and the ceremonies at the GPO.

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets on the day to witness the Commemoration ceremonies taking place.

Figures supplied under the Freedom of Information act reveal that RTE had a total of 30 live cameras and two engineering cameras deployed across the day in order to ensure nothing was missed.

The station also had two presenters, two reporters and four commentators brought in to cover the historic occasion, meaning it had more than 120 staff working on the day.

It was one of the most-watched programmes of the year – a peak figure of 1.1m viewers tuned in at some point over the five hours. It was seen by an average of 336,900 viewers, which equated to a 50pc share of the available audience.

Over 136,000 people watched the highlights programme later that night and there have also been 103,695 streams on RTE Player, with 38pc of these from international users.

As the host broadcaster, RTE supplied live feeds to both national and international media outlets including CNN, BBC, Sky News and CCTV China.

RTE’s production team worked with the Air Corps and the Department of Defence to deliver live aerial coverage of the ceremonies and parade.

RTE subsequently released a 40-minute edit of the footage, showing the parade and well-known Dublin landmarks – including St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, the Four Courts and the GPO.

At the time, RTE producer John O’Reagan said that when they were planning the live broadcast, they looked to “add new elements to the TV presentation”.

“One of those was to get aerial coverage of the parade and of Dublin – not recorded, but live as the event was happening,” he said.

In addition to the State commemoration ceremonies, RTE also televised a concert from the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Monday night.

Ryan Tubridy presented a special edition of the Late Late Show on Good Friday, while Joe Duffy did a radio show live from O’Connell Street on Easter Monday .

The station received considerable praise for its coverage of the Commemoration ceremonies.

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