Friday 23 February 2018

Michael O'Doherty: 'RTE €2.8m losses prove they repeat mistakes as well as their TV shows'

RTÉ’S deputy director-general Kevin Bakhurst. Photo: Tony Gavin
RTÉ’S deputy director-general Kevin Bakhurst. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kevin Bakhurst Photo: RTE
Michael O'Doherty

Michael O'Doherty

For the second year in a row, RTE has recorded a loss. So at a time when most companies are recovering after the crash - and starting to run more efficiently having learned from their mistakes - the national broadcaster lost €2.8m in 2015.

The reason why RTE is back to losing money, of course, is not down to its own inability to run a business.

Instead, it's the fault of the government, which refuses to put up the licence fee; An Post, which fails to collect about 15pc of fees they're actually owed; and best of all the Irish public, who are buying less televisions. Or so RTE would have you believe ...

Deputy Director General Kevin Bakhurst said: "While we managed to deliver some increases in commercial revenue, overall the public funding base remained static and is, in real terms, declining", suggesting that the fact that RTE received "only" €179m in public funding in 2015 is the root cause of its problems.


While Bakhurst is, as ever, quick to point out that costs are down from their 2008 levels, he seems strangely unconcerned by the fact that - for the second year in a row - costs in RTE have risen, from €307m in 2013, to €312m in 2014, up to €320m last year.

The simple reason for this, of course, is staff wages. With an average salary of €56k among its 1,900 staff, management have admitted that this will continue to rise in the near future, as RTE feel obliged to give back some of the money it had to cut to reduce its astronomical spending in 2008.

So having admitted that they were paying their staff salaries they couldn't afford eight years ago, they're back to their old tricks.

It's good to see that RTE are back to doing two of the things they do best. Losing money, and blaming other people for their problems ...


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