Licence fee hike to net RTÉ €14m windfall

RTÉ is to get a €14m windfall from licence fee payers, it emerged today.

RTÉ is to get a €14m windfall from licence fee payers, it emerged today.

Officials confirmed the annual payment will jump €2 to €160 for each TV licence from January 1.

RTÉ’s coffers will be further boosted by an increase in the numbers signed-up to the scheme and a fall in the number evading it.

The licence fee hike was agreed by the Government after an independent review of RTÉ’s performance in 2006.

The broadcaster welcomed the decision.

Eamon Ryan, Communications Minister, said: “This [licence fee increase] is a modest increase that will allow RTÉ to continue to strengthen the public service schedules it delivers in increasingly competitive television and radio markets.

“This increase will also assist RTÉ as it introduces Digital Terrestrial Television throughout the country, in preparation of the analogue switch-off date by 2012.

“This will require significant input and technological advances by RTÉ as they work with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), ComReg and industry to deliver on this commitment,” he said.

The review found that RTÉ was providing value for money for the taxpayer.

Mary Finan, RTÉ Authority chairperson, said: “On behalf of RTE, I welcome the minister’s recognition of recent successes in the level of indigenous broadcasting and can assure him that the development of homegrown talent and programming remains our priority.

“RTÉ looks forward to working with the minister and his department in reinvigorating the current annual review process.

“I share the minister’s confidence that RTÉ will continue to provide the audience with value for money,” she said.

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