Noel Curran concerned by BT business model

Sports rights “bubble” has consequences for Irish media market, says RTÉ boss

Noel Curran: DG of RTE

Noel Curran: DG of RTE

 

Sports rights inflation hasn’t gone unnoticed at RTÉ, which early on in its cost-cutting process identified lower spending in this area as one of its main targets for slash-and-burn.

RTÉ director-general Noel Curran told the Oireachtas transport and communications committee yesterday that the “bubble” in the market was making life hard for the broadcaster.

“We need to get these rights down, but the market is just extraordinarily difficult,” he said, citing BT’s decision to offer its newly-acquired Premier League football matches free to British broadband subscribers. “That’s a whole different business model,” Curran said. “Not only are sports rights being driven by very large companies, but there are these other large companies that see it as an add-on to their core product, and that has implications for RTÉ.”

Record deal
The latest three-year television deals agreed by the Premier League with Sky and BT saw the two companies pay a record £3 billion for football rights – an increase of more than 70 per cent on the size of the previous set of rights.