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UTV challenge sparks RTE makeover

RTE is searching for a star – a design guru to rebrand its TV stations and make them look smarter ahead of the arrival of UTV's new TV station in the Republic.

A notice on e-tender.ie states that RTE "invites experienced and suitably qualified agencies to submit expressions of interest to provide specialist creative brand identity services for its television division to support RTE's channel branding and marketing strategy".

"RTE wish to work with a creative agency in 2014 to develop a new on-screen brand identity package," the notice stated.

UTV yesterday confirmed it will begin broadcasting a new TV channel in Dublin from January of next year.

The new entity, "UTV Ireland", will be a general entertainment channel, carrying mainly syndicated content. More than 100 jobs will be created. The new channel also plans to go head-to-head with RTE on current affairs.

It will broadcast an hour-long nightly news and current affairs programme.

Yesterday, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) announced it had begun negotiations for a content provision contract, under Section 71 of the Broadcasting Act, with UTV Ireland Limited.

That's the first step in building the legal framework to get the new TV station off the ground.

The new marketing strategy for RTE will cost at a time when Montrose is under pressure to stem losses.

A major restructuring programme left RTE nursing a deficit of some €60m in 2012.

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Commercial revenue has fallen 38pc since 2007 with TV advertising revenue falling about 45pc.

Just last month the national broadcaster was accused by the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) of wasting taxpayers' cash.

The IBI called for an investigation by a Joint Oireachtas Committee into the use of licence-fee revenues to plug losses at music station 2fm.

It said RTE's annual accounts showed that losses at 2fm exceeded €13m between 2010 and 2012.

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