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Assessing PSB funding: Irish regulator publishes recommendations

posted on 22 July, 2013   (public)

On 18 July 2013, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has published recommendations in respect of the required levels of funding for the public service broadcasters (PSBs), TG4 and RTÉ, over the next five years. The recommendations are based on a 248 page report which was conducted by consulting company Crowe Horwath.

Under section 124(8) of the Broadcasting Act, 2009, the BAI is required, on a five-yearly basis, to conduct a review of the adequacy of public funding to enable PSBs to meet their public service objectives. The review comes in addition to the annual reviews of public funding undertaken by the BAI.

  • The BAI has recommended that there should be not be any immediate increase in the licence fee, but that additional public funds are likely to be required in the future, particularly in the case of RTÉ in order to ensure further investment in RTÉ’s programme output. 

  • The regulator proposed legislative change to be given responsibility for determining advertising limits across all broadcasters, replacing the current system where three separate regimes exist.

  • BAI has also recommended a number of refinements to the existing annual process of reviewing public funding, which would enhance the level of accountability on the part of both RTÉ and TG4 and create clear expectations regarding information required year-on-year.

The BAI's report and recommendations were submitted to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and a Government response was issued on 17 July. The Irish regulator is satisfied that the Government’s position is in broad alignment with that of the BAI’s. The BAI is now in the process of drawing up an implementation plan to give effect to the recommendations made in its report, and reflecting the decisions of Government.

Source: Website of the BAI