I met the Chairperson and RTÉ board members on 7 October to discuss the financial issues facing RTÉ and had previously met the Chair and Director General on 29 July.
Changes in the advertising market alongside evasion rates and challenges around the TV licensing model are having a critical impact on RTÉ’s revenue and financial sustainability.
While RTE’s commercial income dropped significantly during the recession, RTE were in a position to record a small surplus in 2013 and 2014 in the midst of the economic recession. Since then their commercial income has been largely stable with €150m raised in 2014 and in 2018 it was also €150m. Licence fee revenue has increased from €179m in 2014 to €189m in 2018. In the same period their operating costs have grown by €28m, or 9%.
I welcome the work that the board and management of RTÉ have undertaken to develop a revised strategy which seeks to map out a sustainable future where RTÉ can meet the strategic and financial challenges it faces, deliver upon its public service remit and remain a relevant and valued part of Irish life.
RTÉ has sought assistance and additional support from the Government to deliver its revised strategy and, in that context, the robustness of the strategy put forward by RTÉ is being assessed and I will continue to engage with RTÉ on these issues.