RTE damages own argument against the Sound and Vision fund

Today’s Irish Times carries a piece on Noel Curran’s speech to the Cleraun Media Conference, where he suggested that an increase in the BCI Sound & Vision fund would force RTÉ to cut investment in Irish programming. Curran, who is the managing director of RTÉ, said imported programming tends to be cheaper than home-produced content and if the broadcaster had its licence fee income cut in the midst of an advertising downturn they would have no choice but to buy from abroad.

So today would surely be a bad time for RTÉ to announce that it was going to cut its investment in home-produced content anyway but that’s exactly what we got this afternoon.

The broadcaster announced details of its €25m cost-cutting plan, part of which will involve “some curtailment of programming”. Exactly what that means is unclear but it does seem somewhat self-defeating to say funding commercial broadcasters with the licence fee will kill home-grown content only to turn around within hours of the statement to do the same thing yourself.

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