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Digital Delivers Strong Growth for RTÉ

A strong performance from RTÉ Digital during 2013 was instrumental in helping the State-owned broadcaster deliver its first profit since 2007, Adworld.ie can reveal.

Earlier this week, RTÉ published its Annual Report for 2013 which showed that the broadcaster made a profit of €1.06m last year on a turnover of €327.5m. This compares with a loss of €65.2m and turnover of €337.2m in 2012.

An analysis of the accounts shows that the star performer within the broadcaster was RTÉ Digital which reported commercial revenues of €15.42m in 2013, up from €13.63m in 2012. Total revenues for RTÉ Digital, including €4.9m which came from the licence fee, amounted to €20.3m.  This compares with €18.0m in 2012.

The accounts also reveal that RTÉ Digital turned in a surplus of €3.5m compared to €409,000 in 2012. By comparison, the deficit attributable to it’s TV division in 2013 amounted to €6.8m while for its radio division it was a more modest €1.6m.  Apart from RTÉ Digital, the only other division to turn in a surplus was RTÉ Networks which made a surplus of €5.6m on income of €26.3m in 2013.

A further breakdown of RTÉ Digital’s income shows that it reported advertising income of €5.59m, up from €4.53m in 2012. Sponsorship revenue, meanwhile, weighed in at €303,000 while sales of content, merchandising and other related sales, which falls within its remit, amounted to €9.5m, up from €8.5m the previous year.

The accounts also show that RTÉ took in €77m in TV advertising and another €5.96m in TV sponsorship. This compares with €84.5m and €6.3m respectively in 2012.

Advertising revenues for its radio stations, meanwhile, amounted to €18.36m while sponsorship amounted to €1.86m. The comparable figures for 2012 are €21.0m and €2.5m.

The full extent of the economic downturn on RTÉ’s finances over the past number of years is evident from a six year view of the figures which shows that in 2008 commercial revenues amounted to €230m whereas in 2013, they had plummeted to €145m.

In the intervening period, RTÉ has made considerable progress in cutting its overheads by as much as €132m. “From 2008 onwards RTÉ has faced a considerable decline in revenue. In response, decisive action was taken including a radical restructuring of the entire organisation. Notwithstanding some particularly difficult financial years, throughout all of this time we have continued to deliver and develop the full range of RTÉ services,” says RTÉ’s director general, Noel Curran.

“The uncertainties of the future will continue to challenge RTÉ. Even while the recession is slowly lifting, the overall media market continues to be highly competitive and fragmented with increasing numbers of UK channels selling Irish advertising; new channels emerging; and an increased migration of viewers to digital services.  RTÉ will continue on its five year journey to transform to a public service multimedia organisation serving Irish audiences with quality content and a breadth of services.  2013 was the first year of that strategy and good progress was made,” he adds.

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