RTÉ reports surplus for first time since 2007
Director general calls for additional public funding to invest in programming and technology
RTÉ director general Noel Curran: “I believe that additional investment in RTÉ now would yield significant benefits to audiences and the Irish creative economy, as well as helping to secure RTÉ’s medium-term future.”
RTÉ broke even in 2013, with its just published annual report showing that it made a pre-tax surplus of €1.1 million in the year to December 31st 2013, its first surplus since 2007. However, the broadcaster’s director general Noel Curran called for additional public funding.
Total revenues at the state broadcaster fell by €9.6m to €327.6 million, as commercial revenue declined by 7 per cent to €145.2 million, with RTÉ citing the “overall impact of analogue switch off, an increase in UK based opt out channels offering advertising in the Irish market and declines in key trading audiences” as factors behind this decrease. However it noted that there was some recovery in the media market in the latter part of the year.
Noel Curran said that the broadcaster took “decisive action” in recent years, including a radical restructuring of the entire organisation, as revenues declined.
Since 2008, RTÉ has reduced its operating cost base by over € 132 million, or 30 per cent; its workforce by 21 per cent and its fees for ‘talent’, by 40 per cent. However, Mr Curran said that the “ uncertainties of the future will continue to challenge RTÉ”.
“Even while the recession is slowly lifting, the overall media market continues to be highly competitive and fragmented with increasing numbers of UK channels selling Irish advertising; new channels emerging and an increased migration of viewers to digital services. RTÉ will continue on its five year journey to transform to a public service multimedia organisation serving Irish audiences with quality content and a breadth of services. 2013 was the first year of that strategy and good progress was made.”
In his statement, Mr Curran also said that the broadcaster needs additional public funding to invest in programming, content and key technology if it is to retain its connection with and fully serve its audiences.
“Given the very significant adjustments we have made and the continuing vigilance we maintain on costs, I believe that additional investment in RTÉ now would yield significant benefits to audiences and the Irish creative economy, as well as helping to secure RTÉ’s medium-term future”.
Employment at RTÉ stood at 1,856 people as of the end of 2013, of which 260 were part-time/casual.
Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, said that the scale of the turnaround is largely due to a significant reduction in costs as well as the fact that the considerable once-off restructuring charge of € 46.2 million was incurred in 2012.