RTÉ has dismissed calls give free ads to state bodies

City Channel boss, David Harvey, told the Communications Minister, Eamon Ryan, he should compel RTÉ to use unsold ad airtime ‘for practical purposes which are in the national interest’ and that the ad slots should be given to state bodies which have had their advertising budgets cut.

The minister has yet to respond to the request, whilst RTÉ dismissed supporting the RSA campaigns in such was as invidious as RTÉ supports the RSA editorially.

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Is copyright under threat?

I was never happy with Google’s ‘duplication’ of writer’s works without their permission, or e-reader software and hardware that allows consumers read books off computer screens. This allows for easy simulation and distribution of material without consent of the owners of that material.

Unfortunately, a Swedish group have founded a ‘political’ party to break down copyright laws, and to make ‘information’ open to the public. It is sad to see that Ireland is forming new ‘political’ party much like that of their Swedish founders. I am not going to give them the ignominy of an advertisement, as this party is going to campaign for the dismissal of copyright laws and thus will ruin the lives of struggling musicians, writers trying to make a living from their works.

Decrease in Independent TV Production in Ireland

RTÉ’s €68 million shortfall may represent bad news also for independent productions as TV bosses cut budgets. RTÉ however suggest that business is still open, but the 2007 spend of €79.5 million is unlikely to be repeated.

Ben Frow of TV3 admits he can’t afford independent TV unless it wins funding from the Broadcasting Commission Sound and Vision Fund, of which 3 of 26 got funding. A one-hour drama costs the station €150,000, but could get 40 hours of in-house production for the same amount. Consequently, Frow stated he was not going to back new ideas in the next round in July although projects will be re-submitted.

Michael O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, stated that funds were limited but hoped that ‘the pot would be bigger next year, but we’re still going to be turning a lot of people down’.

There were as many as 200 independent production companies three years ago, but estimates that there are as many as 170, The Irish Independent (11th June 2009) reports. These figures seem to be taken directly from the Screen Producers of Ireland website (SPI), the lobbyists for Independent Production companies in Ireland. This figure does not account for the many which are not fee paying members of the SPI. Although Sean Stokes, head of the SPI, confirmed that recession reticence is typical as ‘bigger businesses have let go of 50% of staff’ and that some are ‘pooling resources’.

Sideline’s Billy McGrath of The Model Agent fame is however upbeat as a ‘second revenue stream are online DVD sales outlet’, confirming that one revenue stream could lead independent producers to trouble.

Screentime ShinAwiL’s Larry Bass lost You’re a Star before the recession, but has concentrated his efforts on Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. His company did not get funding from the Broadcasting Commission, but has attracted corporate sponsorship for Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. Wider use of sponsorship is inevitable and independent producers have to find ways to give ‘better value’ to broadcasters.

At the end of the chain are screenwriters who will need to be more inventive, take these considerations on board to try to keep independent production companies interested but there is the danger that screenwriters may be forced abroad.

RTÉ Fights €68 Million Shortfall

Cathal Goan appeared at the Joint Commission of on Communications, Energy, and National Resources to discuss RTÉ’s financial position. RTÉ faces a €68 million shortfall for the 2009 figures, but Goan denies that the station is close to bankruptcy.

Cathal Goan appeared at the Joint Commission of on Communications, Energy, and National Resources to discuss RTÉ’s financial position. RTÉ faces a €68 million shortfall for the 2009 figures, but Goan denies that the station is close to bankruptcy.

In RTÉ, 249 employees pull in €12 million each year, 148 of whom earn more than €100K, The Irish Independent reports. There is a push to curb the salaries of high paying individuals in RTÉ as Goan is looking for more pay cuts from his staff. The Labour TD, Liz McManus suggested that RTÉ should follow BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson’s suit in curtailing top presenters wages by 25% to 40%.

RTÉ’s unionised employees represent half of the Dublin 4 company and are members of NUJ and SIPTU balloted on pay cuts proposed that would see staff who earn less than €25,000 take a 2.6% cut, and those who earn in excess of €255,000 take a 12.5 reduction in their salary. The members accepted the paycuts by a margin of 57.4 to 43.3%. These cuts, according to The Irish Times (17th June 2009) are voluntary which may protract this saga further due to the procrastinated episodes with a few of their stars.

Mary Curtin, Trade Union Group secretary warned management that the strong no vote resulted from ‘high executive pay and remuneration’ and ‘extravagant bonus system’ at RTÉ. NUJ secretary, Séamus Dooley suggested that the yes voters were a reluctant yes.

Setanta Sports on the Brink

Setanta Sports is on the brink of collapse as backers are trying to throw Setanta a life ring, but is the rope long enough for Setanta to grab, or will that rope hang them.

Setanta Sports is on the brink of collapse as backers are trying to throw Setanta a life ring, but is the rope long enough for Setanta to grab, or will that rope hang them.