RTE will reveal salaries of stars in coming weeks
Published 14/07/2011 | 05:00
RTE has promised to publish details of its stars' salaries within the coming weeks.
The state broadcaster yesterday published its annual report for 2010, without a single reference to the six-figure salaries enjoyed by its top presenters.
Although praising its own "highly creditable organisational response" to the grave financial challenge it faces, RTE was silent on the issue of how much celebrities such as Ryan Tubridy and Pat Kenny now earn.
RTE's stance differs from the BBC, which also published its annual report this week revealing that 52 top stars earned more than £250,000 (€283,000) last year.
However, an RTE spokesman last night insisted that stars' earnings for 2009 would be released in coming weeks, as these were always released separately from the annual report.
"The director general has clearly stated the planned reduction of over 30pc which will be implemented in paid fees as the contract renewal period is completed. Release of earnings figures for 2009 will take place in the coming weeks," he said.
The figures are released from two years ago, to prevent rivals getting commercially sensitive details about current salaries of top presenters.
RTE's annual report said that cost reductions at the station had resulted in a projected revenue shortfall of €68m in 2009 being cut down to a final net deficit of €4.7m for 2010.
The report said its wage bill fell from €137m in 2009 to €130m last year.
There were around 60 fewer employees, bringing the total to 2,151, mainly through non-replacement, early retirement and career breaks.
RTE said that a ceiling on the amount paid to it by the Department of Social Protection to cover free television licences for social welfare recipients would cost them at least €3m a year. Without this, it would have reported a small surplus for 2010.
RTE chairman Tom Savage said it had been "a remarkable turnaround, reflecting considerable management application and overall organisational discipline in very difficult times".
And when times get tough, viewers turn to escapism over gloomy reality, according to the report's list of the top 10 Irish television programmes for last year.
It showed that toys, sport, beauty queens and even the weather all trumped the economic downturn in attracting an audience during 2010, with 'The Late Late Toy Show' topping the charts with a whopping 1.3 million viewers.
Even when it came to news broadcasts, snowstorms attracted more attention than financial failure.
During December's unprecedented big freeze, RTE news attracted more viewers than even the IMF bailout.
The viewing figures for the 'Rose of Tralee', 'The X Factor' -- which is shown on rival TV3 -- and the 'Eurovision Song Contest' showed we all still love a glitzy competition; while 'Prime Time's' investigation into the upscale lifestyles of Ireland's property developers attracted a massive audience.
And 1.24 million viewers were tuned in for the final minute of the All-Ireland Hurling Final when Tipperary snatched victory from Kilkenny.