Advanced Television

RTÉ reform plan to ‘regain trust’

November 17, 2023

RTÉ, the Irish public service broadcaster, has published its strategic reform plan, including a voluntary redundancy scheme targeting those on over €100,000. It also caps the pay of top stars, meaning no one will earn more than director general Kevin Bakhurst.

The document sets out a plan to make one in five jobs redundant, rebalance regional production and make savings across the board, but says that a move from its Montrose base is “not economically viable”.

RTÉ said: “Developed to respond to the urgent need for transformation and a restoration of trust, the plan is the first step in a consultation with Government, with the audience, and with staff, the creative sector, and other stakeholders. The plan sets out the framework for the eventual strategic plan for 2024 – 2028, which will be provided to Government and the regulator in the new year.”

The broadcaster said that TV licence income had dipped by €21 million and anticipates €40 million to drop off next year. It said that it has already made savings of €5 million this year against its 2023 Budget and will make savings of €10 million next year.

“This means a net reduction of approximately 400 posts. This will be achieved through a combination of normal attrition and retirements and a voluntary exit scheme open to all, and which will aim to particularly reduce the number of staff paid over €100,000.”

The document envisages an expanded role for Cork and Limerick, saying: “We will operate two production centres, expanding in Cork and reducing Dublin, diversifying employment and the content produced and commissioned. We will rebalance our production nationwide, investing in an expanded production centre in Cork, with renewed commitment to Limerick and Galway. This means significantly more content will be created or commissioned from outside of Dublin, where we will have a smaller RTÉ in both headcount and footprint.”

The reform plan commits to internal cultural change and better governance and says that the much-maligned RTÉ Player will be updated.

RTÉ added: “We will pursue positive changes in internal organisational culture and in particular improve the transparent exchange of information, communication and consultation. These initiatives, some of which are already underway, include: the establishment of a broader leadership forum for dialogue; building on the progress that has been achieved by working in collaboration with the TUG over many years; the creation of a staff engagement forum, to be representative of the range of roles and disciplines within the organisation; and more updates from the Leadership Team, along with more divisional briefings.”

“RTÉ Player will transform to become one of the main ways people watch live programming, along with an extensive on-demand catalogue. This catalogue will be a point of differentiation, providing a unique collection in both Irish and English language. We will ensure a quality, consistent RTÉ Player service across all major connected devices. We will improve the user interface as well as the resilience and reliability of the service in order to achieve this. Our roadmap sets out continuous improvements over each year from 2024.”

“We are working on developing a next generation service for Saorview to provide an expanded choice of free channels and on-demand content, combining Digital Terrestrial Television and broadband. The plan is to launch the service in 2025 subject to regulatory approvals, and the development of the new service. This will involve continued work with industry participants to roll-out the technology for this new service.”

The broadcaster said that as part of its new strategy, it will move to prioritise live and on-demand content. As part of this, RTÉ says that it will shut both RTÉ One +1 and RTÉ2 +1. Additionally, the broadcaster plans to shut RTÉ Radio 1 Extra, RTÉ 2XM, RTÉ Pulse and RTÉjr Radio

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