How RTÉ plan to "address key issues, fight for its future and for public service media in Ireland" 1 month ago

How RTÉ plan to "address key issues, fight for its future and for public service media in Ireland"

Some interesting details here.

As announced late on Wednesday night, RTÉ is planning on a large number of staff cuts in 2020 as well as a 15 percent pay reduction for their highest-earning presenters as the broadcaster attempts to reduce projected costs by €60 million over three years (2020-2023).

The broadcaster said that 200 job cuts are expected next year and it will work with staff and unions on a number of initiatives to reduce costs.

These initiatives include pay freezes, tiered pay reductions, review of benefits and work practice reforms.

Director-General of RTÉ Dee Forbes will also take a 10 percent pay cut, along with the other eight members of the Executive Board, while members of the RTÉ Authority will also waive their fees in the future.

The broadcaster has also released details of its revised strategy and plans to address the key issues facing the organisation.

Some of the main changes are outlined below.

RTÉ will move its biggest sporting moments to RTÉ One and increase investment in live TV moments and big events (e.g. RTÉ on Climate, Late Late Show Specials). RTÉ is also set to launch a kids on-demand and digital strategy. The station also plans on evolving the audience’s user experience of many of its digital services through mandatory sign-in and personalisation.

The broadcaster has said it will enhance content offerings on the RTÉ Player, with longer windows and a commitment to improving and investing in the technology, features and functionality.

RTÉ will also develop its live and on-demand RTÉ Player product, building towards a more integrated service offering video and audio. New visualised radio studios are set to be built and the station plans on increasing the variety of its podcasts and to produce more high-quality Irish drama.

The RTÉ Guide is for sale and there are plans to closing the RTÉ studio in Limerick in 2020. Production of RTÉ Lyric FM will move to Cork and Dublin. However, RTÉ will continue to provide a mid-west news service in Limerick.

On its radio output, RTÉ will close its Digital Audio Broadcast network, as well as RTÉ’s digital radio stations (RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio & RTÉ Radio 1 Extra).

RTÉ Aertel will also cease to exist and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will move to the National Concert Hall.

In terms of overall cost reduction, the station said that it needs to reduce projected costs by €60 million over three years (2020-2023), in addition to the reduction of 23 percent delivered between 2008 and 2018.

While announcing these measures, RTÉ has also called on assistance from the Government, especially when it comes to changing the way in which the TV licence fee is collected.

RTÉ noted that Ireland has one of the highest evasion rates in Europe (14 percent), which results in the loss of €25 million in public funding every year. 11 percent (and growing) of households do not pay the TV licence, but can still consume RTÉ programming and content on the RTÉ Player.

RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes said:

"The challenges in front of us are real. But RTÉ does have a plan, which we are confident can address many of the challenges we face and bring Ireland’s national public broadcaster to stability.

"However, Government needs to act to ensure there is a future for public service media in Ireland. I am clear about what role RTÉ should play in Irish life, but I am also clear that we cannot do it unless Government fixes the TV Licence system. We shouldn’t be under any illusions; we are in a fight – a fight to sustain a viable public media in Ireland.

"We remain in discussions with Government. We are doing all we can to return RTÉ to a stable financial position, but we will not be able to reinvent public media for future generations, nor fulfil our remit, without immediate reform of the TV Licence system."