Business Irish

Monday 15 July 2019

RTE flagships fail in pitch for new sponsors

No takers for 'Late Late' or Gerry Ryan shows

LATE LATE SHOW: last week's debut presenter Gerry Ryan
LATE LATE SHOW: last week's debut presenter Gerry Ryan

JEROME REILLY

GERRY Ryan says he makes RTE millions in advertising revenue -- but nobody is rushing to take up a sponsorship deal with the highly-rated broadcaster who presented Friday night's Late Late Show for the first time.

The €559,000-a-year presenter is top of the ratings game, but after three months RTE has still failed to find a bidder for a €110,000 sponsorship deal.

In a depressing sign of the times, RTE television's biggest crowd-puller, the Late Late Late Show, has also failed to pull in a sponsor to replace embattled bank Halifax, which is believed to have paid €1.3m to RTE for the last two-year sponsorship contract.

In a pitch seen by the Sunday Independent, RTE describes the three-hour Gerry Ryan Show as "Ireland's No 1 talk show, available for sponsorship for the very first time".

The pitch promised potential sponsors an average of 342,000 listeners a day making it the third most-listened to radio programme as well as it being number one among the key 20- to 44-year-old market segment.

For their €110,000 a quarter spend, potential sponsors were told they could expect 35 sponsor-credited "stings" per week along the lines of "Gerry Ryan on RTE 2 FM with (sponsor name) and (sponsor tag line)". They would also get seven prime-time promotions per week and a three-month sponsorship of the Gerry Ryan home page.

When Halifax ended their sponsorship of the Late Late Show RTE said they were "positive and confident" about its chances of finding a replacement sponsor.

Since then, TV advertising in particular has plummeted and RTE is looking at cutbacks of €25m to balance the books by year end.

Though no redundancies are planned there will be a pay freeze until next September and staff who leave or retire will not be replaced.

Senior executives, including director-general Cathal Goan, will take a pay cut.

RTE prepared an eight-page pitch to potential sponsors, pointing out that the Friday night flagship is the longest-running chat show in the world.

"In a period when broadcasters around Europe are seeing audience figures for chat shows decreasing, the Friday night chat show grew its audience during the latest season on RTE 1.

"The latest season reached 92 per cent of all adults. It reached 95 per cent of housekeepers and housekeepers with kids," RTE said.

It also said a new Late Late sponsor would have "potential leveraging opportunities" including appearances by Pat Kenny at sponsor events, corporate use of the Green Room each week and audience tickets.

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