RTÉ plans to beef up 24-hour news service
Hourly TV bulletins, diaspora channel and Montrose upgrades in five-year strategy
Kevin Bakhurst: made the case for the importance of retaining overseas reporters
Television news bulletins on the hour, a new channel for the diaspora called RTÉ Ireland and an upgrade to its Donnybrook facilities are among RTÉ’s plans for the next five years.
In a strategy document published yesterday, RTÉ confirms its “finance-dependent” ambitions for the fledgling RTÉ News Now, signalling it wants the channel to have “a significantly enhanced schedule” with live news bulletins on the hour from 7am to midnight and fewer repeats. At the moment, up to 80 per cent of RTÉ News Now is “looped content”.
The News Now app, which receives about 60 million page impressions per month, is “now a mainstream platform” for consumption of RTÉ content, it adds. “The vision is for RTÉ News Now to become the driver of the 24-hour news cycle.”
RTÉ is seeking to evolve over a period when both the number of over-55s and the number of under-14s are set to increase. It is also preparing for a swelling of the 35- to 54-year-old audience, as this demographic group is due to overtake 15-34s as the biggest in Ireland.
The proposed RTÉ Ireland service, a revival of a pre-recession idea, will combine content from RTÉ One and RTÉ Two in a bid to target the 80 million-strong Irish diaspora. It will serve UK-based viewers via satellite and cable and will be made available globally through RTÉ.ie. RTÉ also hopes to launch new “low-cost” IPTV (television over the internet) services.
Certain infrastructure upgrades to the buildings and facilities at Montrose are “critical” for RTÉ to have a fit-for-purpose workplace that could be opened up to as many as 150 people from the independent production and digital media sectors, it says.
Speaking at a media conference in DCU yesterday, managing director of RTÉ news and current affairs Kevin Bakhurst made the case for the importance of retaining overseas reporters. He reiterated that RTÉ would reopen its London bureau once it could afford to do so.