RTÉ losses widen despite cuts
Broadcaster RTÉ’s net deficit widened to €16.8 million in 2011 as commercial revenues fell and licence fee income declined, its annual report showed today.
The loss came despite a reduction in operating costs as the station shed staff and implemented a number of measures to reduce its outgoings.
In total, commercial revenues have fallen by 32 per cent since a peak reached in 2007, to €167.3 million last year.
TV and radio ad income fell by €6.3 million and €3.5 million respectively over the year. The latest reduction brings the total fall in RTÉ’s TV ad revenue to 40 per cent from the 2007 peak. .
Revenue from the TV licence also declined, falling to €183.6 million for the year. The broadcaster said licence fee income was back at a level last seen in 2006 as the Government imposed a reduction of about €12.4 million. This was due to changes in Budget 2012, which included the elimination of part of the exchequer grant to TG4, replaced by money from TV licence collections that had previously been paid to RTÉ.
RTÉ One was the only profitable station for the broadcaster, reporting a profit of €2.7 million. RTÉ Two, however, lost €17.59 million, while radio station 2FM recorded a deficit of almost €5.4 million.
Its online services division reported a loss of €3.4 million, lower than the previous year’s €3.9 million loss.
“For RTÉ to continue to fulfil its public service obligations it will have to adapt; to deliver existing and new high quality digital media services; to have clearer priorities that underline our public value, fulfil the needs of the public we serve and differentiate RTÉ from its international and domestic competitors. In parallel we must continue to reduce our costs, optimise our commercial potential to eliminate our deficit and return to a sustainable financial footing,” director-general Noel Curran said.
“These are huge challenges which will see a different RTÉ emerge in the coming years.”