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Awarding of new licenses for digital television stations to RTE puts commercial broadcasting at risk

Dublin, 24th February 2011: The Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) has today criticised the decision by Communications Minister Pat Carey TD to grant RTÉ licenses for five new digital television channels.

According to IBI Chairman Scott Williams this decision has given even greater prominence to RTÉ in Ireland’s advertising landscape. Mr. Williams also said that his members were not happy with the manner in which the announcement was made “virtually on the eve of a general election and without any consideration for the impact on commercial broadcasters at a time of economic crisis”.

“An increase in the number of television channels means that advertisers will be able to avail of an increased amount of advertising inventory. This will impact on the radio sector as the additional inventory available on three of the new RTÉ digital channels that will carry advertising will reduce the cost of placing ads on television, making it a more viable option even for those who heretofore could not afford it. This cost reduction will trickle down to all media, radio included, further increasing the financial pressure on commercial radio broadcasters”.

“The current economic climate has made it a financial impossibility for a commercial operator to embrace digital television in a manner similar to that being undertaken by RTÉ. And yet RTÉ has, again, been handed another competitive advantage by the Government”.

Mr. Williams said that the Independent Broadcasters will be urging the new Government to reassess the unfair advantage the current Government has given to RTE and consider the number of jobs that are at risk in independent broadcasting in Ireland as a direct result of the decision taken.

For information:
Lisa Ni Choisdealbha, Independent Broadcasters of Ireland, 087 2038956;
Julie Dilger, MKC Communications, 01 703 8600

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