The State of State Television
Ireland is an excellent example of state television challenges in the complex and growing world of instant, online, time-shifted media content, all available on-demand at the press or swipe of a smart device.
The Irish state broadcaster RTÉ has recently stated that RTÉ staff will be the target for ‘half’ of the €60m cuts currently being sought.While this might help to shore up costs and balance the books a little better in the short term, it indeed opens up the question about the entire business model of state-funded broadcasting via the very dated TV licensing vehicle.
In additional information shared and available on the RTÉ website, the company states other changes planned by the national broadcaster include the movement of significant sporting coverage to RTÉ One, an increase in TV specials and significant events, and the further enhancing of content on the RTÉ Player.
It also said it would invest in more high-quality Irish drama and develop a new integrated media centre in Donnybrook, investing in new digital infrastructure.
RTÉ’s digital radio stations – RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse, RTÉ Gold, RTÉjr Radio and RTÉ Radio 1 Extra – will cease.
The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will transfer to the National Concert Hall.
RTÉ Director-General Dee Forbes said the 15% reduction in pay for the top ten presenters is one part of a series of cuts.
All of this change is required to survive, but is this enough? Does it go far enough? Is the RTE digital player really up to the job?
Certainly, shedding costs will help short term, but getting the right investments combined with a whole new strategy and funding model seems to be required for state broadcasters, competing in a highly competitive landscape for streaming style services.
Watch this space.
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