Monday 20 November 2017

RTE 'dragging its heels on advertising change'

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

RTE IS dragging its heels on changes to its advertising methods and the government is standing by and letting it happen, the head of TV3 has said.

RTE last year was asked by the Competition Authority to make changes to its advertising sales methods, known as "share dealing".

The practice saw RTE demand that advertisers spend a minimum percentage of their advertising budget with them -- in some cases up to 65pc -- or they would be charged more for buying airtime.

RTE has until July 1 to stop using share dealing but the head of TV3 David McRedmond said the broadcaster was only taking the steps slowly, and the department of communications was letting it happen.

"What we have in Ireland at the moment is market failure. You have a dominant, state-backed player that can run a deficit of €50m-plus, which would not be sustainable for any commercial enterprise. It's not sustainable even for RTE.

"The government needs to step in but they aren't doing anything, and they don't really seem that interested in it either," he claimed.

That lack of action by the department has left the Irish television market in such an uneven fight that jobs will be lost in the sector because of it, he added.

Mr McRedmond emphasised that his beef wasn't with RTE per se, but rather with the department for its inaction in dealing with an issue that, he believes, could be resolved quite quickly. TV3 and RTE have both collaborated on a number of projects, most recently the digital switchover coming up at the end of this year.

"This is a question of will. Does the department and Minister Rabbitte have the will to put right a market that has not been working properly for years?"

Irish Independent

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