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RTÉ proposes ‘modest increase in public funding’ over next five years

The broadcaster said that this would enable it to significantly improve its service to audiences.

Image: Niall Carson/PA

PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTER RTÉ has proposed an increase in public funding in order to improve its services over the next five years.

The proposal was made in the broadcaster’s five year strategy, published yesterday.

The strategy said RTÉ has reduced its 2012 cost-base by over €100 million since 2008 and by 2013, its cost base will be 30 per cent lower than five years ago.

We have implemented severe cutbacks across RTÉ including reductions in pay. We have reduced our staffing levels by 20 over cent since 2008.

The range of RTÉ’s content and schedules has suffered and it has lost audience share, according to the strategy which added that this is not sustainable.

It pointed out that the Irish TV licence fee of €160 is “significantly below the European average” and has not increased since 2008.

RTÉ’s public funding has effectively decreased in recent years and will continue to erode due to inflation. In addition the Irish advertising market has shrunk by over 35 per cent from 2008 to 2011.

One option proposed is that the broadcaster keeps spending on programme content over the next five years broadly in line with what is spent this year.

Its second option proposes modest increases in public funding which it said “captures the full scope of RTÉ’s ambition”.

“As well as enabling RTÉ to significantly improve its service to audiences, these changes will also have the potential to offer real benefits to the broader creative digital economy in Ireland,” it continued.

“Without action there will be a decline in both RTÉ’s relevance and commercial viability, not today or tomorrow, but during the lifetime of this strategy.”

Read: RTÉ Radio chief: ‘We’ve looked under every stone to try and make savings>

Read: BAI: ‘There is a risk that Irish-made TV content could become marginalised’>

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