Public service broadcasting is more important now than ever. Independent and objective reporting of domestic and international affairs is absolutely crucial.
This is a period of profound challenge for our established media – be they public service broadcasters or the wider network of local and national media. Audiences are transitioning away from traditional platforms and are increasingly accessing content online through digital mediums.
This has meant that RTÉ have not been able to grow their commerical revenue since 2014, even though costs have grown by €28m during that time. Even though, licence fee revenue has risen by €10m over the period, this has not prevented the emergence of a growing deficit.
RTÉ must transform and evolve to remain vibrant in fulfilling their crucial role into the longer term.
The Licence fee has had two problems – evasion and the need for a different definition of the device that triggers payment. The government have accepted the recommendations of the Working Group on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting and is putting the T.V. licence fee collection out to tender for a 5 year contract which will incentivise investment in the system of collection and reduce the evasion level from its current rate of 12.83%. The government has also committed to developing a device independent charge to come into effect after this period.
I welcome the work RTÉ and it’s board have put in developing a plan. This plan is now being assessed and I will continue to engage with RTÉ.