Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Questions (538)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

538. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the amount of revenue collected annually under the television licence fee; the cost of both collecting and enforcing television licensing; the breakdown for each; the percentage of households compliant with television licensing annually; the net amount the television licence produces per the total number of households in the State; if she is satisfied with this net amount; her views on whether a better system could be considered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40440/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Part 9 of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 makes provision for the administration of the TV licence fee regime. Licence fee receipts are comprised of receipts from direct sales by An Post, who act as my issuing agent for licence fee collection and a contribution from the Department of Social Protection in respect of free licences issued under the Household Benefits Scheme. The Broadcasting Act provides for the payment of collection costs to An Post, 7% of net receipts to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for the Broadcasting Fund which supports the Sound and Vision and Archiving Schemes and the balance to RTÉ.

Total licence fee revenues collected in 2020 amounted to €222,551,619.96 of which An Post received €10,029,834.00.

An Post makes every effort to reduce evasion and issues a number of reminders to evaders. Prosecution is a last resort. In 2020 9,555 summons were issued and 4,581 cases went to court. Once prosecutions proceed to Court the cost is borne by the Courts Service and my Department does not have details of the costs incurred by the Courts Service.

The estimated 2020 TV licence evasion rate is 15.16% giving a compliance rate of 84.84%.

Not all households have televisions with the Television Audience Measurement (TAM/Nielsen) estimating the number of 'No TV homes' to be 12.9%. My Department takes this into account when estimating the total number of licenceable dwellings and in 2020 this was 1,679,798 resulting in a rate of €132 per dwelling.

The Programme for Government provided for the establishment of the Future of Media Commission to consider the future of print, broadcast, and online media in a platform agnostic fashion. The independent commission, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, is tasked with examining the challenges facing the sector and to consider the extent to which the current models of delivery are the appropriate ones for the next 10 years. It is examining how the public service media can be funded in a way that is sustainable, gives greater security of funding, ensures independent editorial oversight and delivers value for money to the public. This includes consideration of the current television licence fee model.

It is expected that the Commission's Report will be completed shortly and I look forward to receiving their recommendations which will inform future policy for the media sector, including funding for public service broadcasting.

Question No. 539 answered with Question No. 525.