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RTÉ's commercial income dropped 20% last year as sales of DVDs and CDs tumbled

The State broadcaster has traditionally relied on such sales as a significant contributor to its income.

rt2 Bridget and Eamon, from the RTÉ show of the same name Source: RTÉ

TUMBLING SALES OF DVDs and CDs by RTE’s commercial arm last year contributed to revenues at the company declining sharply by 20%, or by €5 million to €20 million.

The sales of DVDs – such as the record-breaking series Love Hate – have generally previously been a major cash cow for RTÉ Commercial Enterprises DAC.

However, with the closure of HMV’s brick-and-mortar stores in Ireland, the company has lost a major outlet for the sale of its DVDs and CDs and the broadcaster’s directors report that sales “significantly reduced” last year.

In the company’s directors’ report, the fact that consumers are moving away from CDs and DVDs purchases is pointed out, “and this has necessitated a complete re-evaluation of the activity”.

They state: “Currently, we are reviewing our presence in the market with business activity limited to managing existing and exploring licensing deals.”

The company last year slimmed down its operations and reduced costs resulting in pre-tax profits increasing by 68.5% to €7.4m.

‘Limits international appeal’

The number of people employed at the firm last year reduced from 85 to 37 with staff costs reducing from €6.3m to €2.6m.

The directors also state that revenues from the sale of RTE programming was constrained by the content of the programmes, which serves the needs of the Irish audience but limits international appeal.

The directors state: “2016 was a steep revenue decline driven by the non-recurrence of a significant domestic sale, combined with the impact of currency depreciation.”

They state: “However, international success was achieved with the sale of 1916 programming, Bridget & Eamon, and Vogue Williams. The majority of revenues come from English-speaking markets, primarily the UK and Australia.”

The directors state that the RTÉ Guide remains a profitable entity. They state: “Good cost management and revenue enhancements have ensured that the publication remains a contributor to RTE’s bottom line.”

On the company’s future developments, the directors state that it is their intention to continue to develop the principal activities of the company and to identify areas with future growth potential.

Read: BAI to write to Communicorp for a second time over station-ban on Irish Times journalists

Read: ‘A dog who won’t bark, never mind bite’: Central Bank in the firing line over tracker scandal

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Gordon Deegan

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