RTÉ’s commercial revenue has declined from €240m to €145m over the past five years. Annual television licence revenue was reduced by €19m in that period. The Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources reported that the television licence evasion levels, at 17% of households and businesses, are high by European standards. The latest annual report of An Post indicates no progress since 2008 in curtailing television-licence evasion.
RTE returned a modest surplus of €700,000 last year, following an era of substantial losses. How can RTÉ afford to pay one person so much when their capacity to make a decent profit and grow revenue is so uncertain?
D’Arcy is quoted as saying that his return to RTÉ is “a bit like coming home”, but is the tenability of this homecoming to be based on a very hefty increase in the television licence fee, or the hope that An Post will become more effective as a television licence-fee collector, a prospect defined by RTÉ “as a key priority for 2014”?