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RTE and TV3 Both Respond to BAI Review of RTE Future Funding
19 Jul 2013 : By Kevin Cronin
RTE Director General Noel Curran and TV3 Chief Executive David McRedmond.
RTE Director General Noel Curran and TV3 Chief Executive David McRedmond have both responded to the BAI’s recommendations for future funding for RTE and TG4 over the next five years.

The review - which was carried out by Crowe Horwath on behalf of the BAI - lists among its many recommendations that any increased RTE funding should be conditional on achieving further cost reductions.

It also states that future funding should be channelled through the independent production sector as much as possible.

In Mr Curran’s statement, he focused upon RTE’s recent achievements in cutting costs and the report’s recognition of the importance of sustaining Irish public media in the face of global competition.

‘Irish public service media plays a crucial role in the social, cultural and political life of this country. While welcoming the recognition of the need for RTÉ to be properly funded, we have also consistently recognised that any funding carries huge responsibilities for us,’ Mr Curran said.

‘We have made enormous gains in efficiency and cost reduction in recent years but we should never be complacent. Similarly we are also increasingly aware of our role in the wider Irish media market and have already indicated our willingness to discuss that role, so long as Irish media production is protected. We look forward to working with the consultants appointed by the Department to show the work already done and to seek whatever further gains we can.’

Mr McRedmond of TV3, on the other hand, praised the BAI for highlighting ‘serious flaws’ in RTE’s practices and expressed his concern that the Government would water down the BAI’s recommendations as ‘RTE’s shareholder’.

‘TV3 is pleased that all the State's regulatory authorities - the BAI, ComReg and the Competition Authority - supported by expert consultants, in this case Crowe Horwath, have now recommended substantial reform of the market. All these bodies see serious flaws in RTE's practices and/or broadcasting policy. All recommend immediate and substantial reform,’ Mr McRedmond said.

‘TV3 welcomes the ending of RTE deficits but is concerned that the Department, RTE's shareholder, is conflicted and has watered down the recommendations of the BAI and Crowe Horwath, introducing further delay to market reform and minimising reform. This review is already one year late and any further delay is unwarranted, damaging to the market and will inhibit investment in the sector.

‘TV3 will be looking for meetings as soon as possible with Government to ensure the BAI recommendations are implemented fully and immediately.’

A spokesperson for TV3 added that they may release an extended response in the coming days after they have had time to reflect on the review.

IFTN's original article about the BAI's recommendations for RTE funding over the next five years can be found here.

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