Wednesday 23 October 2019

Audiences score RTÉ low on 'new and engaging content'

RTÉ’s headquarters at Montrose. Photo: Colin Keegan
RTÉ’s headquarters at Montrose. Photo: Colin Keegan
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

RTÉ scores well as a service Irish people would turn to in the event of an emergency - but gets lower ratings for new and engaging content, according to a new report on audience perception of Ireland's public service broadcasters (PSBs).

A report by Mercury Insights, on behalf of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI), also said that, despite the general popularity of RTÉ, a significant number of people did not believe it should be funded by the licence fee.

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The author of the report based much of her analysis on research by Behaviours and Attitudes (B&A), commissioned by the BAI over a number of years.

The Mercury report said: "27pc of respondents to the B&A survey believed that it (RTÉ) should not be supported by funding from the TV licence fee. In the case of TG4, the figure was 16pc."

"RTÉ performs extremely well on key indicators to do with trust and scores 7.9 out of 10 in relation to the attitudinal statement 'First service in the event of a national emergency or disaster'.

"However, RTÉ records relatively low ratings on new, engaging, provocative content that makes people stop and think," it added.

The report also warned that RTÉ and TG4 would have growing competition from Netflix and other on-demand services.

"Audiences have access to so much content, across so many devices, often highly personalised and on demand, that PSBs cannot depend on audiences, especially younger audiences, to come to a PSB platform," said the report 'Public perception of Public Service Broadcasting in Ireland'.

"Similarly, PSBs must find ways of retaining their distinctiveness so that audiences will recognise and value PSB content wherever they find it."

The B&A research also showed the majority of Irish adults watch online content at home. However, fewer than half of Irish adults (47pc) agreed that RTÉ used new technology to broaden the availability of its programmes.

The public funding of RTÉ is a live issue as the organisation prepares a new cost-cutting programme.

In August, the Government announced the licence fee collection would go out to tender but that there would be no funding boost.

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