TV licence will not exist in 2020, says Minister

 

THE TV licence fee as we know it will not exist in 2020, Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan has said.

Television on devices from mobile phones to laptops will make the old way of charging for a physical television in a home neither practicable or possible, he predicted.

Mr Ryan told the Media 2020 Vision for Change conference organised by mediacontact.ie at Croke Park yesterday that he did not know what would replace the current licence but alternatives would need careful thought.

He said any replacement needed to be allied to new technology with a guaranteed stream of income and should not be dependent on decisions taken by the minister for finance of the day.

Mr Ryan said the time was right for another media forum to rival the one at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in 2002, which eventually led to the setting up of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The forum would seek to address many of the issues surrounding digital media for which there was no obvious answer.

RTÉ Publishing executive director Múirne Laffan said connected TV, which will allow viewers to access the internet through the television, will be coming to Ireland this summer.

She predicted that within eight to 10 years every television in the State will be connected to the internet. RTÉ Publishing, which runs RTE.ie, now has 3.3 million unique users with a million of those living overseas.

She said RTÉ was the first national broadcaster in the world to make its content accessible worldwide through its RTÉ Player.

Google’s head of acquisition Natalie Bagnall said the downturn had not affected the company because people regarded the internet now as more important than ever.