Just like managers of what might be called traditional media right around the world, RTÉ’s administrators are faced with increasingly stark options.
The national broadcaster no longer has the funding to sustain services we regard as normal, as almost a right in a modern society. It long ago lost its monopoly position. The communications/broadcasting landscape, and its commercial opportunities, have permanently changed.
The national broadcaster, after a €55m funding plea was rejected, has warned that redundancies and cuts in sport, Irish-language services, educational and religious content may be required.
It seems strange, and it shows where the power lies, that €100m can be found at the drop of a hat to sustain an industry that is not viable — beef farming — while our national broadcaster, an essential element in our culture, struggles.
RTÉ must take hard decisions and improve some basic services but it must be sustained. Not to do so in such a fraught world risks the return of things we have forgotten about because public service broadcasting has been such a success.