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RTÉ on Course to Break-Even in 2013

Noel Curran, Director-General of RTÉ 

RTÉ is on course to “break-even” in 2013 after it notched up a hefty deficit of €65.2m in 2013.

The State-owned broadcaster published its annual report for 2012 this week and it showed that total revenues for 2012 amounted to €337.21m, down from €350.8m in 2011. The deficit compares to a deficit of €18.7m in 2012. However the bulk of the deficit is attributable to restructuring costs of €46m which the broadcaster incurred as it continues to restructure its business in response to a drop in commercial revenues and the ongoing challenges facing the wider media industry.

At an operational level, the broadcaster reported an operating profit of €2.2m. This compares with an operational loss of €2.5m in 2011.

According to the broadcaster, cost savings totalling €18m were achieved during 2012 bringing the total cost savings achieved since 2008 to €104m. Last year a total of 270 people left RTÉ leaving it with a staff of 1,858.

The full extent of the downturn in the advertising market is once again clearly evident in fall off in commercial revenues. Notes to the accounts show TV advertising and sponsorship advertising was down 8% or €8.8m to €90.8m while radio advertising and sponsorship was down 10% to €23.5m. Digital revenues, meanwhile, were up 8% to €13.6m, €5m of which was advertising and sponsorship with the balance of €8.5m attributable to merchandising, the sale of content and other related activities.

According to Noel Curran, Director-General, RTÉ, “The restructuring undertaken in the last two years has been difficult but will now enable RTÉ to return to financial stability this year. Significant cost-cutting measures, including staff pay cuts, have been in train since 2008, but in 2012 RTÉ delivered its most radical cost-cutting measures to date with a substantial restructuring programme which has brought operating costs to a significantly lower level. That process has continued into 2013 and will see RTÉ’s cost base 30% lower than in 2008. Although the restructuring has contributed to the deficit for 2012, I remain confident, notwithstanding a very difficult market environment, that the changes we have implemented have stabilised the financial base of the organisation.

“Crucially, throughout this very difficult period RTÉ has continued to deliver for audiences across all its services. That must always be our primary focus. To do so we must continue to manage our costs and sustain and grow revenues through what remains an extraordinarily difficult period for all media organisations in Ireland.”

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