Saorview pricing model is restricting range of TV channels, says TG4
Irish-language station TG4 has criticised the fee structure used by RTE's digital TV platform Saorview for "restricting the provision" of additional channels. In a submission to the Department of Communications, TG4 claimed "serious issues needed to be addressed in relation to Saorview's operational model".
Under the Saorview model, the costs of the service plus a margin are divided among all the channels on the platform. The more channels there are, the lower the cost for each channel.
However, TG4 says that adding hour-shifted services, known as +1 channels, are uneconomical for broadcasters. That is because they offer only a "minimal" boost to revenues, which is outstripped by Saorview's charges under the current regime.
"The cost of Saorview continues to present a real barrier to users in the development of their services on the platform," said TG4. This, it claims, is a fundamental weakness of Saorview.
A spokesman for RTE, which owns Saorview operator 2rn, said: "Broadcasters are charged on the basis of bit rate usage [amount of data transferred by a station] which fairly apportions the charges over the usage consumed by each channel. Three new channels have been added to the Saorview platform in recent years.
"RTE has recently published a revised reference offer for carriage on the Saorview platform for the next five years, commencing 1 April 2019, with a reduction of over 20pc in the bit rate charge."
RTE and its subsidiary, 2rn, invested over €60m to build the digital terrestrial network, which provides free-to-air digital TV services to households in Ireland.
The Saorview tariff operates in a regulated market and it reports audited accounts annually to ComReg.
Sunday Indo Business