We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Fair City

RTÉ clarifies €240k multi-year contract for Fair City photographer following criticism

It comes after Director General Kevin Bakhurst told an Oireachtas committee yesterday he wanted to know more about the deal.

RTÉ HAS RELEASED a statement clarifying how much it will pay a photographer to take still images of soap opera Fair City after the issue was deemed “ridiculous” at an Oireachtas committee yesterday. 

The Irish Examiner revealed this week that the broadcaster would spend €240,000 on a multi-year contract for a dedicated photographer to take a minimum of 16 approved still photographs a week of Fair City and its production.

The issue was raised during the appearance of senior RTÉ officials, including Director General Kevin Bakhurst, at the Oireachtas Media Committee yesterday.

Fine Gael Senator Micheál Carrigy questioned Bakhurst about the contract.

“I’ve asked my assistant to take a picture of me speaking here and I’ll show it to you in about two minutes’ time and it won’t cost anything to be able to do that,” he said.

“I think it is quite ridiculous and it makes me ask the question: ‘Do you actually realise what cost-cutting measures are?’”.

Responding, Bakhurst said he also wanted to know more about the reported contract. 

“I want to know exactly what the deal is because I can’t believe on the face of it, it’s as published,” he said.

“I want to know what the details of that are and I will deal with that and I am dealing with it. So I’ve asked them. When I have the details, I’m happy to come back to you and let you know exactly what that is actually for.”

In a statement this morning, RTÉ confirmed it is inviting submissions from “suitably qualified photographers” as part of a public tender process to provide official stills photography for the soap. 

The broadcaster said Fair City is Ireland’s “most popular soap” and generated over 4 million streams on the RTÉ Player in the first eight months of the year, up 40% year on year.

It said the contract is a guide price and is for a maximum of €60,000 per annum, or €240,000 over four years.

Under the contract, the photographer will be expected to deliver a minimum of 16 approved photograph stills in both high and low resolution to Fair City each week, for 50 weeks per year.

They must also be on set or on location an average of 20 hours per week over the course of three days, with the broadcaster stating that occasional weekend and night shift work may also be required.

“Popular soaps, such as Fair City, with multiple characters and multiple unfolding storylines have a sustained need for high quality imagery across the year,” the statement continues.

“This imagery is then used across a variety of media outlets to help drive audiences to the show as viewers can now decide ‘what to watch’ based on the promotional image that appears on their platform.”

It said the usage includes weekly listings in print media, daily media and online media, imagery on TV guides, such as Sky, embargoed key storyline ‘spoiler’ images for release to media and print and online interviews with actors relating to their storylines.

Executive Producer of Fair City Brigie de Courcy said: “I cannot overstate the importance of high quality, highly curated photography in promoting Fair City in the busy landscape of press and digital publicity.

“It is vital to have a skilled photographer to capture, in single frames, moments of drama that will intrigue our regular audience, and bring new viewers to Fair City.”

The statement continued that a contract awarded under tender “represents better value to RTÉ than engaging professional photographers on an ad hoc basis”. 

“These services are currently being tendered for a four-year period on e-tenders to ensure that RTÉ is getting best value for money and in line with EU Procurement legislation and Irish Procurement Guidelines published by the Department of Finance,” it said.

It added the tender is a repeat tender and that these services and/or products have been purchased previously under other contracts.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel