RTÉ’s dual funding model has ‘completely failed’, says TV3 boss
David McRedmond says there is an ‘urgent need for reform’ of Government’s approach to broadcasting market
TV3’s David McRedmond: “RTÉ received nearly €1 billion in State funding from the licence fee over the last five years and still managed to run up a deficit of over €100 million.”
Funding for RTÉ through the dual model of the television licence fee and commercial advertising has “completely failed”, TV3 chief executive David McRedmond claimed yesterday.
Speaking after the launch of his station’s autumn schedule, Mr McRedmond criticised the Government’s approach to the broadcasting market and said there was an “urgent need for reform”.
He also said he would like to see former RTÉ broadcaster Pat Kenny at the commercial station at some point.
“I can’t understand why the Department of Communications continues to ignore all of the evidence, all of the advice and all the best practice in other countries, as they prop up what is now a completely failed dual-funding mechanism for State broadcasting,” he said.
“RTÉ received nearly €1 billion in State funding from the licence fee over the last five years and still managed to run up a deficit of over €100 million.”
He said RTÉ’s receipt of the licence fee – soon to become the broadcast charge – afforded it the ability to lower advertising rates, which was in turn devaluing it for other media organisations that are dependent upon advertising.
“Advertising rates have been devalued for all media to almost the lowest levels in all Europe. This failure in public policy serves none of us. RTÉ should gradually reduce their share of the commercial market.
“I support RTÉ being funded by the broadcast charge – and they should get all that money – but the quid pro quo is they have to get out of the commercial market. It’s not appropriate. Get out of the ad market.”
Mr McRedmond said he would not disclose whether he had spoken to Pat Kenny about his forming a partnership with the commercial station but said the two were friends and spoke regularly.
No sudden decision
“Of course, inevitably we have been talking because we would be talking anyway,” he said. “The nature of television isn’t that there is a sudden decision – these things take time – you think about them.”
He said that “yes of course” he would like to see Kenny at TV3 at some point in the future. “He’s one of the top broadcasters in the country – who wouldn’t want him? But different broadcasters have different ideas around what they want to do, so I’ve no idea.”
Mr McRedmond also said he shared some of the views expressed by current affairs show host Vincent Browne recently, when he said he was “appalled” by some of TV3’s coverage of the Traveller community.
“He’s perfectly happy to stay. That doesn’t mean he agrees with all we do and it doesn’t mean I agree with all of his views. In terms of his views on the Traveller programmes, I would share some of his issues.”