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Why RTÉ will feel the Pressure in 2015 & into the future

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”.


RTÉ ONE has around 20% share of the total audience. This is due to the loyalty built up over the past 50 years of RTÉ. With staples such as Six One, The Late Late Show, Fair City, Love/Hate etc. it is unlikely that UTV will capture any of this audience. Even if UTV do start capturing RTÉ ONE’s audience both channels will clearly want to see growth with other audiences currently not watching Irish TV.

The 50% of people starved of any real Irish TV choice largely left to watch English opt-out services, which are largely repeat and import based. However mainstream channels are unlikely to gain, RTÉ ONE and UTV Ireland will need to make their product more accessible to the BBC ONE (5%), BBC TWO (2%) and Channel 4(2%) audiences it is unlikely that either channel could move viewers from the many General Entertainment channels available.


RTÉ2’s revamp was welcome, though it is constantly changing direction. It’s unfortunate that the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources could not come to a decision to allow RTÉ2 move RTÉjr programming from the channel. This lack of vision from policy makers has clearly been a problem with the development of Irish TV and has caused the €40 or so million to leave the country each year. RTÉ also has the issue it has very little home-grown drama, outside of a single yearly comedy serial such as Damo & Ivor. Reality pilot TV on the channel also leads to the issue that RTÉ2 have no reoccurring home-grown series.

Their 6 to 9 schedule is also devoid of any Irish programming, instead they opt to commission programmes for post watershed, in what seems to largely be an immature attempt to attract a “yuff” audience.

Their continued loss of sport to other channels is also a concern. If RTÉ2 and TV3 lose Champions league to other services in 2015 both channels will have an uphill battle to attract a male audience.

If RTÉ2 continues with this they will continue to see audiences lost to online and fresher TV channels. UTV Ireland will not affect RTÉ2.


RTÉ NEWS NOW is a basket case of a TV channel. It’s unlikely that RTÉ will admit to this but RTÉ management structure at the channel is clearly aiming it at an online audience. The only problem is that Linear TV rarely works online and even if it did why would constant repeats of Six One news make someone tune in when they could just go On Demand with Six One.

RTÉ News Now is controlled by RTÉ Digital, the people who produce the RTÉ News Now app. In fairness to them RTÉ News Now the app is a well thought out news app for Ireland. However you’d have to ask why anyone would watch RTÉ News Now the linear service from the app when the picture is squashed up into the upper right hand corner.

The tickers look like the invention of someone using MS Paint. They bare little relevance and do not represent the look or feel of RTÉ TV news. In the words of RTÉ management RTÉ News Now could only ever be considered “Editorially Unacceptable”, though they are all likely to deny this.


The saga of the move of RTÉjr from RTÉ TWO is long and shows the complete lack of vision from policy makers. RTÉ did apply to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resourse to move the service from RTÉ2. Over 15 months via written questions the Minster (Pat Rabbitte T.D.) said that he would make a decision “soon”. Not soon enough as he left office and RTÉ withdrew a 15 month old application.

This not only shows lack of clear policy from the Department but also its inability to understand the TV market. All of the work carried out by the department remains under wraps. The public have not been give access to RTÉ’s proposal. Why? This isn’t a major issue for either the Minister or the RTÉ. It just seem like a huge waste of time, held up for no apparent reason.

RTÉ Internation/Diaspora TV

In a recent speech given by RTÉ’s Director General, Noel Curran, he stated his hope to introduce an new services for ex-pats. This has been pie in the sky since the ending of Tara TV way back. Serveral RTÉ DG’s have all stated the wish to introduce RTÉ Britain though up to now all have failed, and it remains to be seen if Noel Curran can bring this new service about. The current Minister would have to give his permission under The Broadcasting Act 2009 Section 103. Expect such a decision from Alex White “soon”.

If RTÉ cannot get all the different stakeholders to agree to a new international service it is unlike that such a service will be provided before the end of the current government, particularly when we’ve seen the RTÉjr saga of recent years. Imagine I’ve used the word years in that sentence. They should be ashamed.

RTÉ Player/RTÉ.ie

RTÉ’s online presence is good and it will be interesting to see if they can use online to develop their service. In Ireland the RTÉ Player requires boxsets but when you think that the player could not even manage to secure rights to older RTÉ Dramas for the 50th anniversary of RTÉ Television you’d wonder if such free online service will ever compete with their pay competitors Netflixs and Sky On-demand, would you pay RTÉ for boxsets?