The Competition Authority have ruled that RTÉ can no longer give discounts to television advertisers based on their total budget committed to the state broadcaster.
RTÉ have worked with the Competition Authority to make changes to their advertising scheme for the sale of television advertising airtime, following a complaint made by commercial broadcaster TV3 to the Competition Authority over two years ago.
TV3’s complaint related to ‘share deals’ - discounts provided to advertisers by RTÉ, depending on the advertiser’s total television budget committed with RTÉ. RTÉ have now agreed that from July 1st, 2012, the share of budget element of their scheme for TV advertising airtime will be discontinued and discounts for advertisers will no longer depend on their total budget committed to RTÉ.
The investigation is now closed by the Competition Authority, who will publish a copy of the Agreement and Undertaking document given by RTÉ, along with an Enforcement Decision “in due course”.
TV3 estimates the operation of share deals may have cost the group €30m over the past five years, with CEO David McRedmond commenting ” The State Aid of RTÉ has led to a shocking abuse of dominance as the broadcaster has been totally unregulated. Government and the regulators must now step in to rescue the ad market. RTÉ’s dual-funding model has failed, and now that this market abuse has been uncovered regulators must ensure transparency and fairness in RTÉ’s commercial operations. We want immediate action.”