The BAI has recommended that RTÉ should receive an increase in its annual public funding of at least €30m per annum.
In its statement on the five-year review of public funding, the BAI also says that, given the urgency of RTÉ’s current funding position, the increased level of public funding recommended should be available to the broadcaster immediately.
The BAI says it believes that there may well be a case for increased funding in excess of €30m per annum and remains open to receiving further detailed proposals from the broadcaster over the period of its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, aligned with its statutory remit.
“The role and value of public service broadcasting should not be taken for granted, particularly in the current environment where PSBs face significant challenges in responding to dramatic social change in Ireland, and the rapidly evolving media environment which is marked by the fragmentation of audiences and the growth of digital and non-linear services and content,” the regulator says.
The BAI also recommends an increase of €6m per annum in public funding for TG4.
Commenting on the recommendations, BAI Chairperson, Professor Pauric Travers, said: “The development of sustainable funding models, and the enhancement of creativity and innovation within the Irish audio-visual sector, goes to the heart of the BAI Strategy Statement. The BAI acknowledges the valuable role played by the independent commercial and community sectors in providing choice and diversity for audiences, and will continue to engage with these key stakeholders to work towards the achievement of these objectives.
“With regard to RTÉ and TG4, the BAI notes the significant changes that both PSBs have implemented to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in recent years. The BAI recognises also that both broadcasters have taken steps to meet current and future challenges. In this context, current levels of public funding are not sufficient to sustain the reach and impact of current provision, let alone allow the broadcasters to evolve in such a way as to adequately fulfil their statutory remit in serving Irish audiences.
“The BAI requests that the Minister and the Government urgently address the financing required for public service broadcasting as set out in the BAI’s report.”
The report of the BAI will be published once it has been laid before each House of the Oireachtas by the Minister.