Tuesday 20 February 2018

RTE stands by €180,000 final bill for Eurovision

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

EXPENSIVE hotel rooms helped push cash-strapped RTE's total bill for this year's Eurovision entry to just over €180,000.

But the broadcaster -- which has cut costs in the face of a funding deficit -- stressed it kept expenses to an absolute minimum, with the size of Ireland's delegation to Oslo around half that of other nations.

Eurovision singer Niamh Kavanagh -- whose performance propelled Ireland into this year's final -- said the total cost of taking part in the competition may "sound exorbitant" but it was not when viewed in terms of the audience and the amount of TV hours it provided, as well as its worldwide audience of more than 100 million.

Figures supplied to the Irish Independent under the Freedom of Information Act reveal hotel costs in the Norwegian city -- at €33,400 -- made up a large portion of the expenses from the 15-member production team and performers.

RTE said all of the travelling delegations stay in hotels block-booked by the European Broadcasting Union -- in this instance the Radisson Blu.

Other expenses -- including flights, entertainment and food costs -- were just over €20,200.

The Eurovision final in Oslo attracted a peak audience of more than 1.1 million viewers.

"It is RTE's view that given the number of hours of programming and the huge audience the programmes attract the cost of coverage is easily justified," RTE, which recorded a deficit of €16.5m last year, said.

Figures revealed it cost €63,800 to select this year's entrant. The fee for participating in the contest was a further €63,000.

Irish Independent

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