Tuesday 21 November 2017

€160 TV licence fee is too low, says RTE as it seeks more public funds

RTE director-general Noel Curran
RTE director-general Noel Curran
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

RTE has warned that the current TV licence fee of €160 is below the European average as it seeks more public money to improve its programming.

The national broadcaster today released a new five-year development plan called RTE Strategy 2012-2017.

An increase in public funding would assist in the initiative of stabilising RTÉ  which “will contribute in no small way to strengthening and enhancing Irish public life,” read the report.

"Like everyone else in Ireland, we have been through five turbulent years, and now we need to look forward. So we are working hard to reshape RTÉ for the future," director-general Noel Curran says in his introduction to the report

RTE says that the TV licence fee of €160 is below the European standard and that rising inflation has eroded funding for the broadcaster.

Over the next five years, RTE’s forward strategy includes plans to improve the quality and efficiency of its services using existing resources.

New programmes for young people,  more science and technology programme and a fresh look at comedy are listed on the proposed bill.

The public service broadcaster also broaches potential advancements that could be made with additional resources, in particular the delivery of popular shows such as Love/Hate and a drive towards more investigative journalism.  

RTÉ is a much leaner and efficient organisation than it was five years ago, according to the report.  The broadcaster intends to reduce its operating cost base by over €125m compared with 2008.

“We have implemented severe cutbacks across RTÉ, including reductions in pay. By 2013, our cost base will be 30pc lower than 5 years ago,” it said.

But the report notes that delivering quality output without increased funding is unsustainable for the dual funded organisation.  “The range of RTÉ’s content and schedules has suffered and we have lost audience share.”

The Department of Communications is currently conducting a consultation on the Public Service Broadcasting Charge.

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