2fm commercial revenue falls in 'soft' radio market
RTE's radio station 2fm was the only station at the broadcaster whose commercial revenue fell last year. A breakdown to each station's commercial income and public service top-up is revealed in RTE's Annual Report, which was published last week.
As first revealed by this newspaper last September, the group's losses for the year came in at almost €20m.
The figures indicate that the station, which is aimed at younger listeners, had net commercial revenues of €5.8m, compared with €6m in 2015, representing a fall of 3pc. Some €5m in public funding from the licence fee was also allocated to 2fm, with the station producing a loss of €778,000 up from €114,000.
Commercial revenues for RTE Radio 1, Lyric FM and television stations RTE One, and RTE2 and were all up by modest amounts.
RTE blamed increased costs in 2016 for the losses, as well as a lower than expected increase in ad revenues due to the impact of the Brexit vote.
2fm has struggled to make a profit in recent years and has undergone a major overhaul under Dan Healy who was appointed station head in 2013. Since taking over the role, he has grown revenues at the station and was close to break-even in 2015. Healy told the Sunday Independent: "Last year was a very soft year for radio."
He said that the station's commercial income was flat in terms of spot advertising, marginally better on sponsorship but promotions were down.
Healy said that RTE radio, encompassing Radio 1 and 2fm, had been up 1pc in the first quarter of this year and up 4pc in the second quarter, with 2fm income behind that of Radio 1.
The detailed breakdown also shows that RTE Orchestras grew revenue to €2.9m last year compared with less than €2.6m in 2015. This division was allocated €12.7m in public funding.
RTE, which is headed by director general Dee Forbes, said last week that the losses were caused by special events such as the centenary celebrations, the General Election, Euro 2016 and the Olympic Games. It is progressing 200 redundancies as part of a cost-cutting programme.
Sunday Indo Business