Wednesday 12 December 2018

Virgin blasts €8.6m in extra Budget funding for RTÉ

  

Pat Kiely, managing director of Virgin Media Television. Photo: David Conachy
Pat Kiely, managing director of Virgin Media Television. Photo: David Conachy
Gavin McLoughlin

Gavin McLoughlin

Virgin Media has lashed out at €8.6m in extra funding secured by RTÉ in the Budget.

The State broadcaster's rival, which owns the former TV3 group, said it believes RTÉ should be "held accountable" for €30m losses over the past three years.

"Additional funding without any conditions is a reward for RTÉ's inefficiencies to the detriment of the independent broadcasting sector," Virgin said.

"We will therefore seek clarification as to how this additional revenue will be spent by RTÉ to ensure it doesn't further distort the overall television market."

The two entities have clashed on multiple issues in recent years.

Virgin Media TV boss Pat Kiely recently complained to RTÉ director-general Dee Forbes about what he claimed was "de facto censorship" of his TV group.

Former TV3 boss David McRedmond also complained about RTÉ's "dual funding" model - meaning it is able to sell ads as well as getting licence fee revenue - saying it distorted the market for selling advertising.

The Department of Communications said the new money was for general operating purposes.

RTÉ said: "The amount allocated to RTÉ in Budget 2019 represents a reversal of previous budget cuts."

It pointed out that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland said it should receive an extra €30m a year.

Irish Independent

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