RTÉ and BBC Strike New Content Deal
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.
In 2001 RTÉ lost Coronation Street and Emmerdale to rival TV3, after ITV bought a 45% share in TV3. In March of that year RTÉ One began broadcasting the BBC's EastEnders, which had originally broadcast in Ireland on TV3 from 1998 to 2001. However it is unlikely that TV3 will get to bid for these rights as RTÉ will have an automatic first refusal to programmes under the new deal.
TV3 will lose the rights to Coronation Street and Emmerdale to UTV in 2015. It had been suggested in some quarters that TV3 might be interested in EastEnders as a replacement for Coronation Street.
According to Sam Tewungwa, BBC Worldwide's Commerical Director, the new agreement is an extension of a 20 year partnership with RTÉ. He continues by saying "It is great to know that as a result of this deal RTÉ viewers will be able to continue to enjoy the BBC programmes they love for the years to come".
RTÉ's Production and Acquisitions Director, Dermot Horan, outlined how the relationship between the two national broadcasters is continuing to grow significantly, including co-productions and co-funding of content. He said that the agreement will "bring Irish viewers a rich variety of the highest quality programming from drama to natural history, documentaries to children's programming."