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28/03/2002

RTÉ Authority hold meeting with strategic review consultants

The RTÉ Authority have held a special meeting with consultants from KPMG and Logical who have been undertaking a strategic review process of the broadcaster's operations.
In a carefully worded statement, Chairman of the Authority, Patrick J Wright, said that the review was "a work in progress" necessitated by the "serious financial situation facing RTÉ".
After Wednesday's meeting, the Chairman of the Authority, Patrick J Wright, said: "The Authority's decision to embark on a strategic review was necessitated by the serious financial situation facing RTÉ. It has proved to be a particularly timely decision as it will also provide valuable input for the Forum on Broadcasting, established by Minister Síle de Valera under the Chairmanship of Maurice O'Connell."
He continued: "The Authority's overriding objective is to ensure that RTÉ has a secure and financially sustainable future, which provides the audience with the depth and breadth of public broadcasting which it requires and deserves, and the staff with an excellent working environment."
Following the meeting, several areas that required further submissions were identified, and submissions will be received by the Authority before the end of April.
The RTÉ also revealed that it would engage in the strategic review process on March 19 after it was revealed that the broadcaster had a total loss for the year of €40 million (£25 million). In that capacity, KPMG and Logical were brought in by the Authority to set up the review. It has since been reported that in order to cut costs, the broadcaster could be forced to make upwards of 400 redundancies.
One day after that announcement, RTÉ withdrew its support for loss-making Tara TV, and in doing so they wrote off the £2,304,514 investment made since the station's launch in 1998.
The strategic review was further precipitated by Arts Minister Síle de Valera's decision not to allow RTE to raise its licence fee by €63. In the end, the licence fee was increased by €11.
The Authority said that it would make no further comment until it has had time to consider the extra submissions requested.
RTÉ, www.rte.ie
(GMcG)
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