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RTÉ spend on independent productions falls €3.7m short

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Baz Ashmawy in DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, which the report said had outperformed expectations. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Baz Ashmawy in DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, which the report said had outperformed expectations. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Baz Ashmawy in DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, which the report said had outperformed expectations. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The spend by RTÉ on independent productions last year fell €3.7m short of its €40.2m statutory target due to the Covid-19 pandemic impact.

That is according to the just-published 2020 RTÉ Independent Productions Annual Report.

The report says the €40.2m target was not met due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation or postponement of many productions, resulting in a spend of €36.5m on independent productions.

The report states that while many productions were able to adapt their production methods, some types of programming were prevented by public health advice and pandemic restrictions.

The report says any monies not spent last year will be spent within the following two years under 2009 Broadcasting Act requirements.

Last year, 239 companies made 882 proposals for TV and RTÉ awarded 124 commissions for 502 hours of TV.

The report states that the total value of RTÉ independent television programming activities in 2020, inclusive of all third-party funding, was €66.6m.

Shows brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic accounted for a sizeable chunk of independently produced hours last year on RTÉ television.

Macalla Teo produced 72.5 hours of Home School Hub for children impacted by school closures during the year while the Macalla Teo produced an additional 46 hours of After School Hub.

In another ‘lockdown’ hit show, the makers of Operation Transformation produced four hours of Operation Transformation – Keeping Well Apart.

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Coco Content produced 14 hours of RTÉ 2 ratings winner First Dates Ireland and another seven hours of Dermot Bannon’s Room to Improve.

In total, RTÉ paid out €34.94m to independent TV companies and €1.52m to independent companies produced output for radio.

The report states that last year television commissions with a value of €13.8m, representing 40pc of the value of new 2020 television commissions, were awarded to six independent production companies.

The report says a sum of €7.2m, or 21pc, was awarded to a further six independent production companies.

One of RTÉ’s new commissions last year was Kin, a major new high budget eight-part crime drama series starring Aidan Gillen and that is due to come to our screens this year.

Other entertainment series produced for RTÉ last year include Dancing with the Stars, made by Shinawil, The Tommy Tiernan Show produced by Power Pictures and Amy Huberman’s Finding Joy.

The report states that RTÉ One had its highest performing year since 2011, with a significant increase of 3.3 national consolidated all-day share points year on year.

The report states that life-affirming, informational and escapist programming all contributed to the mix of high performers and this included DIY SOS: The Big Build Ireland, presented by Baz Ashmawy, which the report states “outperformed all expectations”.



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