Wednesday 20 November 2019

Reduce RTE funding and help us out more – independent broadcasters

Donall Hoey

The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) today called on the government to immediately reduce the amount of money it provides to RTÉ and give more to independent radio and TV stations.

The group would like to see some of the revenue generated from the TV licence fee being shared with the independent broadcast sector.

Last year, the TV licence fee provided more than €190m for RTÉ with its radio division receiving €31m.

Speaking on Newstalk this morning, CEO of Ocean Radio and board member of the IBI Tim Collins said that private broadcasters were competing at an unfair advantage against the state broadcaster.

With half of RTE’s revenue coming from commercial advertising and the other half coming from licence fees, Mr. Collins argues that private broadcasters competing in such a market are at a natural disadvantage.

“We have a hugely inefficient state broadcaster hovering up vast amounts of public money,” he said.

“RTE licence fee comes from the mandate that they provide content that’s in the public interest; but during the winter snowfalls, our listenership was huge. We were providing information about transport, travelling conditions and schools which is a vital public service.”

Recently, the Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte announced plans to replace the current TV licence fee with a levy for all households in the country. As it stands, all revenue raised by the licence fee goes to RTÉ.

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