Communicorp Media, the parent company of Newstalk, has today called on Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin TD, to take action to drive reform of RTÉ.
This comes following a decision by RTÉ to refuse the broadcast of an advertisement for Newstalk on its television channels, despite already allowing it to run on the RTE player.
The advertisement to promote The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, was submitted to RTÉ on Friday 3rd July for broadcast on TV. Confirmation of its refusal was received by Newstalk today, July 7th.
The commercial was refused under nine-year-old guidelines, designed to suppress competing broadcast services. The advertisement was declined for including the 9am start time of The Pat Kenny Show and the expression ‘Join Me’. This is despite the same advertisement being previously accepted by RTÉ and currently running on the RTÉ Player with no restrictions. The commercial is also running on Virgin Media and TG4.
“This is not the first time RTÉ has refused to run advertising for Newstalk,” said Patricia Monahan, Managing Editor of Newstalk. “Only last week, RTÉ stated their revenue would be down 35% this year, yet they are in a position to turn down commercial revenue for purely competitive reasons.”
“The fact the Newstalk advertisement was accepted to run on the RTÉ Player, but not on RTÉ television channels smacks of double standards and inconsistency in how RTÉ implements its guidelines,” said Ms Monahan.
In light of today’s refusal by RTÉ, Lucy Gaffney, Chair of Communicorp Media has said “to have a situation where the state broadcaster can stifle competitors, while refusing commercial money at such a critical time, is totally unacceptable. For it to happen while surviving on the licence fee and state handouts is beyond belief.”
Ms Gaffney has said she looks forward to working with the new Government and Minister Catherine Martin to deliver the urgently required reform of the broadcasting sector.