Monday 19 August 2019

Ergo: Could broadcasting levy boost benefit the tech giants?

Actors Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston at an Apple tv+ launch in California in March. Irish-based streaming services may soon fall under the remit of the BAI. Photo: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images
Actors Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston at an Apple tv+ launch in California in March. Irish-based streaming services may soon fall under the remit of the BAI. Photo: NOAH BERGER/AFP/Getty Images

Commercial radio stations have long been looking for some sort of financial break from the Government. The main argument has been that stations all over Ireland provide a valuable public service to their listeners. RTÉ gets a huge whack from the licence fee for its public services, while local radio gets no financial recognition of its contribution. To date, policymakers have done little to appease stations on this point.

However, it looks like some progress has been made in another area. The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland on Friday welcomed a decision by Cabinet to publish amending broadcasting legislation, which included a proposal to reduce the broadcasting levy by up to 50pc. The levy has for many years funded the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). Prior to the levy, the regulator was financed by the Exchequer.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

If the changes are made to the current funding arrangements, it will be some welcome relief to broadcasters.

But it does pose some interesting questions for the future funding of the watchdog. As first revealed in these pages, the BAI is likely to form the nucleus of a new media commissioner, which would regulate video content on the likes of YouTube, as well as streaming services based here, such as Apple TV.

The BAI has been firmly of the view that it or any watchdog should be "funded by the sector(s) to be regulated".

If the State agrees to part-fund the BAI in its current form, will it also be part-funding the regulation of the likes of Apple?

Xtremepush secures spot in Gartner's 'magic quadrant'

Standing out from the crowd online is a tough task for any brand, especially with so many apps and services vying for customers’ attention.

One Irish company, which boasts the likes of Flutter (formerly Paddy Power Betfair), the DAA, and Everton Football Club sponsor SportPesa as its clients, seems to be hitting the right notes. The Ranelagh-headquartered XtremePush helps brands and marketers develop “hyper-personalised” engagement with their customers.

Ergo notes that the success of the business has been picked up in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for mobile marketing platforms. Gartner provides independent research into niche digital market sectors and evaluates players based on their prominence. CEO Tommy Kearns, a former rugby professional, said he was “delighted” to be included.

- Wexford-based group Real Bars Ltd exited examinership back in April. The company, which owns the Centenary Stores nightclub and the Riverbank House Hotel in Wexford town, became embroiled in the process after a legacy debt was higher than the value of the firm, despite the fact that both businesses were profitable.

Ergo notes that the company’s profits have improved further, jumping by €7,000 to €129,469 in the 12 months to the end of September. However, accumulated losses remained high, at €3.46m.

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business