Sunday 18 February 2018

Victory for Newstalk: RTE finally carries 'Move The Dial' ad following months of refusal

Newstalk's Pat Kenny
Newstalk's Pat Kenny
Newstalk's Off the Ball team with DJ Carey
Pat Kenny
Jane Last

Jane Last

RTE has aired an ad for Newstalk that it refused to carry for months – even leading to a European competition battle.

In April last year RTE refused to let Newstalk to run its call-to-action “Move the Dial” at the end of the ad. At the time RTE deemed that it breached its guidelines.

But in the last few days RTE has been running the advertisement without any edit whatsoever.

The breakthrough is seen as a victory for the independent station against its State broadcaster rival.

When RTE first refused to air the ad Newstalk argued the stance was an abuse of a dominant position by refusing to take the commercial station’s money. The commercial station argued this was in turn affecting the taxpayer who subsidises the state broadcaster through a licence fee.

Newstalk also lodged a complaint to the CCPC (Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) claiming a breach of the Irish and EU competition rules. The Communicorp owned station also lodged a complaint with the EU commission in Brussels claiming that the TV licence fee money paid to RTE was not in accordance with state aid rules set out in the EU treaty.  This investigation is ongoing.

Now it has transpired RTE has been running the original ad which includes the Move The Dial end frame from the start of a recent campaign last week.

Cliona Hayes, Group Marketing Director, Communicorp said: "Newstalk welcomes RTE's decision to air the original ‘Move the Dial’ advertising across its TV channels. We are delighted that common sense has prevailed to allow free and fair competition. Newstalk can only assume that RTE have had a complete change of heart and will be reviewing their competitor broadcasting guidelines going forward.”

An RTE spokesperson said the ad had run by mistake.

“We can confirm that a commercial which was not approved for broadcast on RTÉ was inadvertently  loaded  into our computerised  transmission system and was therefore broadcast in error.

The relevant copy has now been removed and replaced by the copy approved for broadcast. There has been no change to RTÉ Guidelines in regard to approving copy.”

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