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Operation Transformation was sold to SC4 in Wales.
Operation Transformation was sold to SC4 in Wales.
Image: Andres Poveda

Overseas sales of Operation Transformation and Taken Down help RTÉ commercial arm profits

The commercial division generates revenues from overseas sales of shows, sponsorship and sales of the RTÉ Guide.
Oct 15th 2019, 8:15 AM 25,587 29

SALES OF RTÉ shows Taken Down, Hardy Bucks and Operation Transformation last year contributed to RTÉ’s commercial arm increasing its pre-tax profits by 22% to €8.89 million.

New accounts filed by RTÉ Commercial Enterprises DAC show that the slimmed down division recorded the increase in pre-tax profits in spite of revenues decreasing by 9% from €20.26 million to €18.47 million.

The commercial division generates revenues from overseas sales of shows, sponsorship and sales of the RTÉ Guide. The profits it delivered last year were not enough to prevent the national broadcaster recording an overall loss of €13 million for 2018.

Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes said last month that RTÉ’s financial situation “is unlike anything it has seen before” and “it won’t be possible to continue as they are” with staff bracing themselves for the completion of a review into RTÉ’s operations.

Successful year for drama and comedy

According to the directors’ report for the commercial arm, overall revenues and costs reduced last year primarily due to the transfer of GAAGO activities into a separately established joint venture company.

The directors state that TV programmes had a strong performance with growth in drama content sales.

The report states that it was a very successful year for RTÉ drama and comedy. It states that Stuart Carolan’s Taken Down secured a significant distribution deal and a broadcast sale to ARTE France and Germany.

According to the report, Hardy Bucks was licensed to Netflix worldwide while The Clinic – which helped launch the acting careers of Amy Huberman and Chris O’Dowd – was re-licensed to Acorn TV USA and UK.

The directors state the division’s Lifestyle division continues to deliver with Dermot Bannon’s Room To Improve and Donal Skehan’s ‘Donal’s ‘Meals in Minutes’ securing international sales across the UK, Europe and Australia as well as First Dates and back catalogue Rachel Allen.

The directors also state that the Kathryn Thomas presented Operation Transformation was sold to SC4 in Wales.

The directors add that in line with the Press sector, the RTÉ Guide had a challenging year with a small decline year-on-year in revenues from advertising and circulation partly compensated by a cover price increase.

The directors state that the pre-tax profits for the year was significantly higher than the previous year as a moderate decrease in revenues was more than compensated for by a much larger reduction in costs.

Staff costs

Numbers employed by the firm last year reduced from 35 to 23 and staff costs reduced from €2.5 million to €1.73 million

The accounts disclose that the GAAGO joint venture recorded revenues of €1.33 million last year and recorded profits of €118,000.

Offering an insight into RTÉ’s commercial operation, the accounts show that the firm’s income from advertising and sponsorship reduced from €874,000 to €710,000.

The company’s revenues from ‘content, merchandising and related sales’ reduced from €13.3 million to €12.17 million while facilities income reduced from €2.6 million to €2.3 million.

The company’s circulation income reduced from €3.3 million to to €3.19 million.

On the firm’s costs, they show that the print run for the RTÉ Guide totalled €1.29 million for the year.

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Gordon Deegan

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