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TV3 slams Minister's decision to approve RTÉ channels

Communications minister Pat Carey gives his blessing for five new digital channels – but TV3 is “shocked” by the news.

Image: Lee Jordan via Flickr

TV3 HAS SAID it is “shocked” by the decision of communications minister Pat Carey to approve RTÉ proposals to create five new digital TV channels.

Carey today gave his approval for the establishment of five new channels, which include the currently online-only RTÉ News Now channel, on the provision that the broadcaster have HD versions of RTÉ One and RTÉ Two ready by mid-2013.

Other channels RTÉ will create include a standalone ‘RTÉjr’ channel for children’s programming, a HD select channel broadcasting RTÉ Two programming (primarily sports events) in HD, an RTÉ Plus channel time-delaying RTÉ One by an hour, and an RTÉ Aertel Digital channel.

Among the provisions laid down by Carey is that RTÉ would have to assist other broadcasters – most obviously TV3 – in the provision of HD channels. RTÉ will also be barred from carrying ads on the news or children’s channels.

But this evening, in a strongly-worded press release, TV3 slammed the move and said it would “extend RTÉ’s dominance in media when it is already the most dominant State broadcaster in Europe”.

“RTÉ TV has operated a deficit for three years, despite receiving hundreds of millions of licence fee money, and prevented any commercial operator from any involvement in the DTT platform,” it continued, saying TV3 would lobby the new government to reverse the decision, which would “destroy jobs, growth and investment in the media sector.”

The move came, it added, at a time when “media is on its knees due to a media market crash which has been exacerbated by RTÉ’s below-cost selling of advertising; and in the week following the closure of two national newspapers, the Sunday Tribune and the Star on Sunday.”

The timing of the move had also raised “serious questions”, TV3 concluded.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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