rte in 2016
If you didn't already know TG4 began broadcasting 20 years ago today. Since then it has proven itself to be the quintessential public service broadcaster. It entertains, it informs and it educates. It gave us a different view (suil eile) and it proved that Irish TV could be strong, in an era when we were bereft of strong national TV. For those of us in 2 TV land it gave us an expectation as to what TV3 should have been, and 2 years later we were slightly disappointed.
In fairness to RTÉ TV its been a big year for them with 1916 celebrations, the general election, the Euro's 2016 and Rio 2016. A summer of sport and a year of celebration and change. In fairness to the national broadcaster they delivered and Autumn on both channels seems to try to keep up. RTE, like other broadcasters are suffering, and you'd have to ask if their autumn line up really works
Broadcasting is becoming old fashioned but both the Right and the Left of the political spectrum have huge interest in the National Broadcasters. Renua plan is simple cut the License Fee and retain just €56million from the Department of Social Protection for the procurement of Public Service broadcasters from different sources. The proposal is cost neutral according to the Party. As such RTÉ must stand on its own two feet. So why the problem with such a simple and, for many voters, an agreeable plan.
I have only met Pat Rabbitte, former Labour Party Leader, once. First impressions last as they say. I found him to be rude and powerless, this was at the height of his career as Minister for Communications. I decided to rush down to Cork to go to RTÉ's 50th celebrations at UCC. It was made up of the usual heads and a few of the public. Actually having it in Cork meant that much of the Dublin media were absent, meaning a slightly better conversation about Broadcasting in Ireland.
Irish TV broadcasters are experiencing one of their worst years ever. Even the arrival of UTV Ireland and the biggest sporting events of 2015 failed to boost audiences. The highest audience share for all Irish TV channels was 48.26% and by November all of the broadcasters had lost 3% of their total audience with the biggest loss of viewers by TV3. The lowest audience share was in July with just 42.4% of viewers watching Irish TV channels. We take a look at the problems faced by each of the channels over the last 11 months and what they can expect for December 2015.
IFTA announced their 23 categories and the nominations for each category. Comedy and Soap have been merged for a number of the categories due possibly to the low number of dramas produced by the industry, however both comedy and soap are given their own categories with Fair City facing off against newcomer Red Rock, though IFTA failed to give a nod to Ros Na Run, which failed to make the cut at this year’s awards. Irish Pictorial Weekly, Moone Boy, Mrs Browns Boys and The Savage Eye are all up for best comedy, with Damo and Ivor getting a nomination the acting categories
UPC have bought TV3 for €80m. A massive drop from the price paid by Dogherty Hanson in 2006. Equity Portfoilio company Doherty Hanson bought the channel for €265m from then owners Canwest and ITV. This marks a 70% drop in the vaulation of the company in the last 9 years. We mark the sale of TV3 with a review of Irish TV in 2015.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have awarded Discovery's EuroSport rights to The Olympic Games 2018 to 2024 in over 50 European Countries. Previously FiveSport had won the same rights and it was through these rights that RTÉ was able to buy The Olympic Games 2016. The games have been awarded to Discovery Communications owners of pan-European TV satellite broadcaster EuroSport, however rights do not cover British or French rights.
None of the Irish TV broadcasters picked up FIFA's Women's World Cup, which begins in Canada tomorrow (6/6/15). While there is no Irish interest in the tournament with neither Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland qualifying for the games. CCÉ contacted all of the Irish broadcasters about their plans to cover the Women's World Cup all failed to respond to the request for information. The EBU signed an agreement for live broadcast and online coverage for the match for 17 EBU member states including the Republic of Ireland. The new president of the EBU is RTÉ's head of Television, Glen Killane (former Head of Sports with the broadcaster). No arrangement was made by any of the Irish broadcasters to attain the broadcast rights, even placing agreements for coverage with RTÉ or the EBU.
RTÉ, the BAI and DCENR have refused to give details of proposed changes to RTÉ schedules that never took place. These proposed changes took place (sorry did not take place) in 2013 when RTÉ requested that it move all RTÉjr programming from RTÉ2. In an FoI all three organisation took the decision to refuse the freedom of information request on a lapsed project where no ministerial decision was ever taken, no public consultation was provided and where the project was ultimately scrapped by RTÉ.
Setanta Sports have announced that they will broadcast Wimbledon for the next 3 years. Wimbledon yet again is lost from Irish Terrestrial TV as TG4 had previously broadcast the tournament since 2005 after a 8 year hiatus from Terrestrial TV when RTÉ decided to drop the tournament in 1998, stating it could not compete with the BBC's loyal Irish Audience. All 26 games will air across the Setanta Ireland and Setanta Sports 1. Setanta retains their rights to the French Open until 2019.
Irish television channels scheduled 784 films for broadcasts in the last 6 months. A total of 128 title were repeated over that same period. RTÉ One had the lowest number of repeats with just one repeat of the 193 films it scheduled, 3e had the highest number of repeats repeating 53 films over the period, having scheduled 113 altogether. Only 4.8% of all movies scheduled are of Irish origin, while just 2.6% come from outside Hollywood.
RTÉ are celebrating the 2nd Birthday of RTÉjr with the return of some of previous cast members of The Den. Zig and Zag is a new animated series which will broadcast on RTÉ's dedicated channel to the under 6s. The new series comes 30 years after the debut of Dempsey’s Den on Irish screens in 2016.
Sometimes you have to say you miss Pat Kenny from The Late Late Show. That pretender Tubs really has not made that much of an impact. For all the criticisms of Pat Kenny on the Late Late he did do some of this best work on the show, Ireland's most watch chat show. Though unfortunately he did have some major gaffs but in fairness to him his interview with the cast of Jackass shows he's clearly happy to laugh at his mistakes and move on, though perhaps this phone call to the Late Late was the fault of the producers, who without knowing possibly made comedy gold.
With the arrival of UTV Ireland much of the programming that UPC customers enjoyed on UTV is available across a number of broadcasters. TV3 and RTÉ both hold some rights to ITV programming, hence why UTV Ireland doesn't carry those shows. UTV Ireland we imagine took the decision not to air the UK General election debate which aired on UTV, STV and ITV. RTÉ took the decision to air the debate on their dedicated digital news channel RTÉ News Now, but they also took the decision to interrupt that live broadcast for the RTÉ Nine O'Clock News, but why?
RTÉ2's decision to air Friends in prime time seems like the easy and simplest way for the channel to schedule during those Soap Opera hours. The stripped schedule for niche broadcasters has been the backbone to most cable services of the past 25 years and is largely over looked by Mainstream TV particularly in prime time. Niche TV seems to be slowly dying away with reports that Viacom (and other owners of niche TV stations) showing their stripped schedules are being replaced by on demand viewing such as Netflix. On demand viewing will eventually hit Mainstream broadcasters and as Netflix begin producing more and more of their own content it will see growth for its on-demand service. But you have to question RTÉ2's decision on Friends.
Red Rock is Ireland's latest soap opera. A good series so far, however it audience numbers have dwindled since its first episode aired in January. This fall was to be expected with any new soap or drama however TV3's other programmes are causing Red Rock's haemorrhaging of viewers. Had Red Rock premiered on either RTÉ ONE or UTV Ireland it would have seen a huge bounce in numbers due to the different level of programming available on TV3's main competitors.
UTV Ireland should be welcomed on all platforms. There is no real reason for the Minister to designate it as a Public Service Broadcaster as there are many other laws that could be referenced before a minister would take the step of declaring the channel Public service in nature. It was wrong of TV3 to argue that UTV Ireland should not appear on Saorview, but it is also wrong for a Minister to declare something Public Service in nature to get around such arguments. After all we live in a democracy and really if it is government policy to set up a new Public service broadcaster then they should launch a transparent competition for that service, overseen by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). It also does not mean that UTV Ireland will pay the same BAI levies as the other radio and TV broadcasters in the country or that UTV Ireland have any requirements for Irish programming.
TG4 will not really be effected by the introduction of UTV Ireland. TG4 from an Irish Language point of view is in a very weak position. It stands alone. Like TV3 its website lacks news, sports and entertainment, it’s basically a corporate website. They are to the fore of the on-demand being one of the first Broadcasters to actually provide such a service. TG4 suffers from its lack of connection with other Irish Language media. CnaG, TnaG and RnaG all have a responsibility to Irish Language media. Surely if as a country we are to support the Irish Language we should have a single broadcaster that can compete in a saturated English Language market. TG4 is a great station, its staff know their audience and can press buttons that other Irish channels just cannot. If TV3 or RTÉ2 took a look west they could push through.
TV3 have the biggest battle in 2015. This battle hasn’t been helped by management decisions to drop Coronation Street and Emmerdale. It’s conceivable that TV3 were playing hard ball in negotiations not expecting anyone to pick up the rights outside of TV3, let’s face it if ITV had approached RTÉ to see the shows return to RTÉ there would have been uproar from TV3 and it is possible that RTÉ wouldn’t have entered such negotiations with ITV. Whatever happened UTV Ireland now have the 2 top soaps from ITV and it is up to TV3 to fight this battle on the air. It is disappointing to see TV3 fail to move ITV programming to 3e over the last year, save for first runs of the soaps on TV3. Instead TV3 have continued to court those soaps including another repeat of The Coronation Street Year, a retrospective on the show.
RTÉ will possibly not be effected by the arrival of UTV Ireland as RTÉ ONE is largely a mainstream channel with a loyal audience, while RTÉ 2 tend to have a younger audience and sports. Unless UTV Ireland win the rights to UFEA Champions League from 2015, RTÉ 2 aren’t to be effected all that much, particularly as it gears up for The World Cup in 2016. Taking a look at the range of channels from RTÉ I don’t see much impact but lack of Drama on both channels will be a challenge for the channel as more and more international companies look to high end home produced dramas. The inability to repeat any Irish drama is also a big issue for fans of Irish Drama, think about it ask any 24 year old if they have heard of or seen Paths to Freedom or Batchelors’ Walk.
Irish TV broadcasters have not future proofed themselves. Over the last 10 years all broadcasters have been put through the mill. In 2006, Irish TV broadcasters had the best year in a decade. 55 per cent of the audience watched some type of TV from an Irish broadcaster. In the 7 years since Irish broadcasters have seen their audience fall to 45 per cent. This doesn’t take into consideration on-demand viewing but it remains a huge drop in terms of audience share, regardless if more people are watching later. The economic downturn is a possible reason for the fall of, but at the end of the day this excuse is used far too much
No matter what the official view from the Oireachtas the public will pay for its service to broadcast on Saorview, the national free to air digital platform in Ireland. Saorview was launched in 2011 and since then OTV has remained off the service due to a dispute between the Houses of the Oireachtas and RTÉ's transmissions company, 2RN. 2RN is the company behind Ireland's broadcast infrastructure, it provides services for RTÉ, TV3, TG4 and Communicorp. It is expected that UTV Ireland will also be available on 2RN's Saorview platform. But the issue of cost has hampered much of Saorview’s development. 2RN sets the value of broadcasting a Standard Definition channel on the platform at €900,000 per year. The House of the Oireachtas are unwilling to pay this charge as they feel that 2RN is public body and should give them free passage on the public’s distribution network.
Sound and Vision funding is in its second iteration and the BAI have given out €5.2 million in funding in round 21. The funding comes from the Television Licence Fee. TV3's new soap, Red Rock, has been awarded €800,000 for 18 percent of its production costs consisting of 104 episodes, while new TV channel UTV Ireland has been given funding for a drama called Pilgrimage and a two part documentary series, hinting at its addition to the Saorview platform.
RTÉ 2 launch their Autumn/Winter Schedule in Dublin on Thursday. A new look for the service was also launch, this is the 7th rebranding of the service since its inception in 1978. RTÉ 2's aim is to be the voice of young Ireland aiming its commissions at the 15 to 35 year old age group. Reality, Lifestyle, OnDemand and Comedy are core to the new season on RTÉ 2.
UTV Ireland is set to start broadcasting in 2015. In August UTV Ireland set about allaying any fears that the advertisers may have about their content since the announcement that they bought Coronation Street and Emmerdale last November. The channel fleshed out its package of programming from ITV Studios, while also announcing two new presenters for the channel. Alison Comyn launched the channels meet and greet event in Dublin City. A slate of ITV programmes were announced such as Doc Martin, Prime Suspect and Mr. Selfridge. The big announcement that Pat Kenny would revive his TV career in early 2015 on UTV Ireland was left to the end. But confusing messages are being made to Ireland's TV audiences.
RTÉ's plan to remove the RTÉjr strand of programming from RTÉ TWO has been knocked back. According to the Minister for Communications the plans, which were submitted to his department in April 2013, have been returned to RTÉ and RTÉ are to re-submit plans for RTÉ TWO and RTÉjr later this year. No decision was made by the Minister in relation to original plans, though it was expected that he would refuse RTÉ's proposal to move such programming off RTÉ TWO's schedules. Under the Broadcasting Act 2009 any changes to a public service broadcasters (RTÉ, TG4 and Oireachtas TV) must be first approved by the Minister for Communications and the minister must consult with various organisations
Both DC and Marvel are set to launch a number of TV show related to their graphic novels. Currently running TV serials include Arrow (the TV adaptation of DC's Green Arrow) and Marvel's Agents of Shield. DC are adapting The Flash as a spin off to Arrow and it is set to arrive in the States this autumn, while 4 new serials from Marvel are set to arrive on Netflix. RTÉ have announce that they will broadcast DC's Batman prequel on RTÉ TWO, a move that sees FOX TV take a DC character to the small screen.
RTÉ have announce their summer schedule. The usual mix of summer replacement chat with Saturday Night with Miriam and the epic nights of The Rose of Tralee. A new entertainment show with Adian Power will replace the now axed The Big Money Game. Impersonator Oliver Callahan brings his Radio 1 show Callan's Kicks to the TV for the summer. RTÉ Two will announce their World Cup team on Thursday.
Over the past two weeks RTÉ have revamped the main RTÉ news programmes and their app RTÉ News Now. Both are cleaner than the previous rebrand which occurred in 2009. This is not an unusual exercise, to see a TV service update their website, news graphics and mobile apps on a cyclical basis. Strange that each of the changes took place at different times and announced at different press events.
RTÉjr started out life as Den Tot's a block on the classic children's TV strand The Den in 1998. This was a major change for the service as Irish children's TV would effectively be on air from 7 in the morning to 6 each evening. RTÉ Two became the main RTÉ children's channel in 1988 with the move of Dempsey's Den to Network 2 from RTÉ 1. In 2010 RTÉ made the decision to re-brand The Den as RTÉjr and TRTÉ. Since 2010 RTÉjr has grown. Initially launched in May 27, 2011 as a 5 day week channel and last year as a stand-alone channel. RTÉ's children's services are hugely underfunded with just €8million available to them.
The television landscape has change phenomenally. Unfortunately Irish TV broadcasters, government and the regulators have failed to understand the changes and challenges faced by Irish TV broadcasting.
The GAA have announced Broadcast rights for the next 4 years. GAA provide a total of 45 provincial and All-Ireland championship matches to Television. A total of 31 games will be provided to RTÉ. Sky will take the remaining 14 games, a move by the GAA into Pay TV, resulting in the loss of these games by TV3.
The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., is expected to announce a new broadcasting strategy, the news comes after the BAI's Report into the "Prospects for a Commercial DTT in Ireland?", which stated that the Digital Terrestrial Platform gave little diversity outside RTÉ channels. The new broadcasting strategy is to build on the current Broadcasting Act but will lead to new legislation in the future, which will incorporate the new Broadcasting charge as announced by the minister in 2013. It is expect that the Minister and his department are keen to push new services on to the DTT network, particularly the Oirechtas TV channel and the Irish Film Board Channel.
RTÉ's game show The Lyrics Broad continues to be a strong title for RTÉ and its producers. In a recent report into TV Formats in Europe the programme came in at 58 on the top 100 list of formats airing on European TV in 2013. The report puts The Lyrics Board ahead of major programmes such as The X-Factor, Wife Swap, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Undercover Boss, Take Me Out and Masterchef. Acording to a report carried out by Digital TV Research the value of TV formats in 2012 was $2.931 billion. The Lyrics Board was originally produced by Like It, Love It Productions for RTÉ and hosted by Aonghus McAnally in the 1990s. The series returned to RTÉ in the 2000s hosted this time by Linda Martin. RTÉ produced a young people's version of the show for TRTÉ in 2011, it was called Sing!
In 2013 RTÉ moved into mid-morning TV with Morning Edition, its first week showing an average of 18,600 viewers tuning to the show. Late last year (2013) TV3 moved into afternoon television with Late Lunch Live, the first 3 months of the show saw an auidence of 26,000 viewers. Morning TV remains strong for TV3 with its 49,600 viewers on average across nearly 4 hours of TV each morning in the first two months of 2014, or a 25% audience share for Ireland AM. RTÉ One continues to command afternoon TV with a new programme starting nearly every 2 years. Today's audience having about 110,000 viewers on average or a 15% share of the audience.
It is looking more and more likely that RTÉ will retained the rights to show EastEnders in a new deal with BBC Worldwide, which extends their current agreement. The agreement includes a wide variety of genre programming for the Irish Broadcaster from Comedy to Documentary.
The Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., is expected to block RTÉ's plans to move their RTÉjr strand from RTÉ Two according to The Sunday Times. A report into the planed move was announced in April 2013 when TV3 objected to the move. The BAI submitted this report to the Minister in July 2013, in November 2013 in the Dail Minister Rabbitte said he expected to be able to make a decision shortly, he restated in the Dail that he would be make a decision shortly in Feburary 2014. The Broadcasting Authority Of Ireland stated that they were unaware of the move during the recent Five-year Review of Public funding, however the review took place during 2013 and was published some months after RTÉ's request.
Gavin Jennings and Jimmy McGee are to commentate on the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Winter Olympic Games on RTÉ News Now. Coverage of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will be live on the channel. The opening ceremony coverage starts at 16:15 on RTÉ News Now tomorrow (07/02/2014), highlights will air each night of the games after the RTÉ Nine News. The highlights programming is provided to RTÉ from the Olympic Broadcast Services. Graphics will also be provided courtesy of OBS. RTÉ have not stated whether RTÉ News Now's live news ticker and panels will remain on screen during the duration of their Winter Olympics Coverage.
E-Vision (Eircom's television division) has announced 17 new channels to begin broadcasting on their service. RTÉ ONE and TG4 will join RTÉ TWO in HD, while 12 new channels have been added to the E-Vision Essential Pack (Comedy Central +1, Channel 4 +1, E4+1, More 4+1, Film4+1, Bloomberg, Euronews, God.TV, EWTN, QVC, TRTÉ, CÙLA4). E-Vision's Sky Movie Pack has added Sky Movies Greats, Sky Movies Crime and Thriller, Sky Movies Drama and Romance, Sky Movies Sci-Fi and Horror and Sky Movies Select.
TAM Ireland have announce the TV viewing audience shares for 2013. RTÉ One remained Ireland's favourite channel with 20% (down 2.6%), followed by TV3 at 10.7% (down 0.8%), RTÉ Two had 7.3%(down 2.7%), TG4 was down slightly to 2% share (down 0.1%), while 3e had a 2.3% share (up 0.5%). RTÉ One +1's share was 0.5%. UTV share was at 2.8% (down 0.3%). Setanta had just 0.3% of the audience.
A report by Oliver & Ohlbaum puts the final nail into the coffin of Irish Broadcasting as its findings have been published by the BAI. The report was commissioned by the BAI after the failed 2008 Commerical Digital Terrestrial TV licensing round, which saw big players Communicorp, UPC, RTÉ, TV3 and Eircom all pull out of negotiations with RTÉ's 2RN. The report was formally given to the BAI in August 2013 and has just been published today. Saorview was launched in 2011 with a tiny number of channels in comparison to its European counterparts.
RTÉ have launched their spring schedule for 2014. The launch begins tonight at 21:35 on RTÉ as they broadcast the feature length documentary The Summit. The documentary follows a team of mountaineers climbing K2. 11 members of the team failed to return.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has issued just under €4.5million to new Irish TV and Radio programmes. The Sound and Vision Fund is supported through the Television Licence Fee. 88 new radio projects and 21 TV projects were awarded funding out of 287 applications, with applications coming from 16 different genre/format categories. In total the TV projects will receive just under €4million, while radio project will receive just over €500,000.
Saorview will launch their second HD channel on the platform. Currently just RTÉ TWO HD is available on the national free-to-air network. TG4 and TV3 have yet to launch on the platform in HD, however TG4 HD is available the pay-platform UPC. The launch comes just in time for Christmas and the many christmas movies that are available over the christmas period on the Channel. The second mux from RTÉ recently opened, and viewers had been asked over the last few week to retune their sets on the Saorview platform. RTÉ One, RTÉ One+1 and RTÉjr all moved over to the second mux, this is in the antispation of the arrival of RTÉ One HD.