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File photo of Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications
File photo of Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications

Pat Rabbitte says people should be prepared to pay for national broadcaster

Rabbitte said RTE faces many challenges as the media environment changes and advertising markets become more crowded.
Sep 8th 2012, 1:38 PM 9,277 108

MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS Pat Rabbitte has said people should be prepared to pay for a national broadcaster but said the TV license is not a solution to falling advertising revenue or the challenges posed by technological change.

Speaking at the TV50 conference at University College Cork (UCC), Rabbitte said RTE’s role in the Irish consciousness has changed over time but the need for robust, well funded and critical media outlets is even more essential now.

The minister said the changing media environment means the market for television advertising it getting “incredibly crowded” with more than 30 channels of advertising available for sale in Ireland, most originating from outside the state.

“Irish broadcasters, have to compete with the very best the world has to offer, while still catering for the particular needs of the domestic market,” he said.

“Television audiences are also fragmented because of mobile and other devices that they can use to access content, play games or discuss their favorite political scandal.”

Rabbitte said if media is important than we should be prepared to pay for it, but added that the television license regime is not a solution to falling revenues and the challenges posed by technological change.

He recognised RTE’s difficult circumstances, losing staff and experience as it seeks to return to financial stability, but said the focus should now be on charting a course through the transition to digital media with the analogue switch-off less than two months away.

The minister’s full speech can be found here.

Read:This is exactly how your TV licence fee is used>

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Michelle Hennessy

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