Evaluate the funding of public sector broadcasting in Ireland from a public finance perspective.
A public broadcaster, it is suggested, can increase societal welfare by catering for minority interests (e.g. specialist tastes), by educating and informing (e.g. political information), by enhancing the sense of community (e.g. broadcasting major sporting events), by developing new talent/programming and by providing
insurance with respect to the existence of broadcasting itself and with respect to ensuring basic services (e.g. quality) through demonstration.
Ireland’s broadcasting sector, both public and commercial, is at a point of departure. With new legislation, which consolidates 50 ...view middle of the document...
In 2003 their was a significant increase in the licence fee, the new fee was now €150 a jump of €43 from the previous level of €107, this means that the licence fee is now RTE’s main source of funding along with commercial advertising/sponsorship revenues as well as the TV licence fees.
The main objectives of this funding is,
-To support the production of high-quality radio and television programmes based on Irish culture, heritage and experience.
-To develop such programmes in the Irish language.
-To increase the availability of programmes on Irish culture, heritage and experience to audiences in the State and support programmes that aim to explore these themes in innovative ways.
-To support programmes that represent the diversity of Irish.culture and heritage.
-To develop local and community broadcasting through support for the production of programmes by this sector.
-To support programmes aimed at improving adult literacy.
The core objectives of the Broadcasting Funding Scheme is to increase public
access at national, local and community level to high-quality radio and
television programmes in English and Irish which explore the themes of Irish
culture, heritage and experience, in contemporary or historic contexts .
I do not believe that what RTE broadcasts is entirely public sector broadcasting in that they provide a comprehensive range of programmes, in irish and in English, which reflect the cultural diversity of Ireland.
RTE is specially mandated to supply
-Programmes that entertain, inform and educate.
-Programmes of news and current affairs.
-Coverage of sporting, religious and cultural activites.
-Coverage of the oireachtas and European Parliament.
As these four points are usually met a lot of the funding is siphoned of to gain access to international televsion.
“Beyond these so called heritage events, everything else should be considered commercial. The licence fee should not be used to produce The Premiership, for example. It is clearly ditto the US Masters golf, the Champions League soccer, the Heineken Cup in rugby or races from Cheltenham. RTE has used the licence fee to invest hugely in sport and prop up the Network 2 [RTE2] schedule. Leave aside the Special Olympics (which is truly public service broadcasting), and sports programming filled 14 of the top 20 shows on Network 2 last year and seven of the top ten. Of the top 20, Winning Streak and three movies filled the other slots. Just like Sky, RTE is using sports as a kind of ‘battering ram’ for Network 2.”
Sunday Tribune, 20th June 2004
It is evident from the article above that RTE put an emphasis on sport and pay a high price for these rights. As the article says RtE use the sports as a’battering ram’ for Network, their clearly paying a high price for these programmes using the licence fee resulting in unfair competition against some of the smaller stations who do not receive quite as much funding.
RTE has a...