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Ryan Tubridy at the launch yesterday. Leah Farrell/

'You can't download soul': Tubridy geared up for new Late Late season as RTÉ takes on Netflix

Ryan Tubridy was in a confident mood at RTÉ’s autumn launch, as he enters his 11th year presenting the flagship show.

RTÉ HAD ITS stars out in force for the launch of its autumn schedule yesterday, with Netflix acting as the big beast the national broadcaster aims to slay in the future.

The streaming service was mentioned a number of times during a ceremony that showcased the familiar faces, and some of the new ones, that’ll fill our screens later this year.

Last year, Director-General Dee Forbes said RTÉ was facing “urgent, substantial” money problems. Reference was made in passing to the broadcaster’s financial plight a number of times yesterday alongside mentions of Netflix.

Forbes began yesterday’s speech by thanking RTÉ’s partners in attendance. “We can’t do things on our own,” she said. 

She said that “public service media has never been more important” before emphasising how “Irishness in all its forms” was at the core of who we are as a nation. 

And RTÉ’s wants to use that “Irishness” to take on Netflix with what it said yesterday was one of its greatest strengths – live TV.

“The Late Late Show has probably never been more relevant,” Tubridy confidently told reporters as he enters his 11th year presenting the flagship show, making him the second longest-serving presenter after Gay Byrne. 

People want to “watch Irish, buy Irish and see Irish”, he said and promised that the Late Late would do all of that. 

As well as targeting the younger generation, Tubridy doesn’t want to lose the “core audience” either.

“We’re ready to take on Netflix,” he said.

How do you that?

“Really, really easy. Because you can’t download soul. We are soul. We try to represent what Ireland is of a given week. We’re the town hall. You can’t get a live chat show from Ireland on Netflix. Give the audience what you can’t get online. 

You can go flicking around Netflix going ‘nothing, nothing, nothing’…  And then this thing comes on, you don’t know what you’re going to get at 9.30 every Friday for two hours.

Tubridy also said that this year, he was hoping to bring the show out of Dublin 4 again. 

Last year’s edition of the show in London left many ticket-holders disappointed after the show was “oversubscribed”

The host said that there wouldn’t be a repeat of this again in the coming year, but that the Late Late Show may look to get out of Dublin.

“So I’d love to go to Cork, maybe go to Galway or Donegal or somewhere else,” Tubridy said.

And despite the tight purse strings at RTÉ, no expense will be spared for the Late Late Show.

He said: “The Late Late Show pulls in an awful lot of money from advertising… It’s very big business. In every sense, audience, finance, the Late Late Show is quite healthy in that regard.”

Similarly, no expense was spared at yesterday’s launch as it closed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra performing the Cranberries song Dreams with group Wyvern Lingo on vocals. 

Tubridy doesn’t expect to be presenting the Late Late for 37 years like Gay Byrne did, but he’s geared up for the challenge ahead.

“The reason I’m probably sitting forward now not leaning back in my chair is because I’m hungry,” he said. “And I’m passionate. I just feel that we can do something with it now. Because the landscape has changed.”

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