Speaking to DCU’s Institute for Future Media & Journalism today, Director General of RTÉ Noel Curran addressed the challenges and risks for the current model of public service broadcasting in a digital media landscape. In his speech, Mr Curran supported claims made by independent broadcasters that they should have access to public funding for programming that provides a service to the public.
Welcoming the statement, Chairman of the IBI John Purcell said that the comments were a significant addition to the debate on the future viability of Irish broadcasting.
“The IBI has long been making the case for independent broadcasters to have access to licence fee revenue to develop their public service broadcasting content. IBI radio stations play a vital role in the provision of public service broadcasting to Irish audiences. In particular local and regional radio stations provide detailed coverage of local news, local sport and local issues that RTÉ would never be able to do. Likewise coverage of national events such as the recent 1916 celebrations and investigative programmes are areas of public service broadcasting that RTÉ excels at and independent radio stations simply could not compete.”
“We already have an extraordinary array of devices through which to receive media and the likelihood is that the technological possibilities will multiply in the future. These changes in technology are changing the business model for broadcasters most notably in reduced commercial revenue for traditional broadcasters. But regardless of what you listen to radio on, it is the content that will cause you to tune in. In order to survive in a rapidly changing world radio stations must ensure that their public service content is of a high quality and is relevant to the audience. This comes at a cost however and with an ever diminishing advertising pool such programming is under severe threat”.
Mr. Purcell said “We have a lot in common with RTÉ most importantly both organisations are mandated by statute to produce public service broadcasting content. I welcome the fact that RTÉ’s Director General recognises that it is time public service content broadcast by independent radio stations is recognised and supported, just as we have rightfully supported RTÉs public service output over the years. It is now time for legislation to be published to ensure that this can happen”.