RTÉ defends website on anti-competitive claims

Wednesday 15 December 2010 17.52
Conor Hayes - RTÉ is 'fully compliant with 2009 Broadcasting Act'
Conor Hayes - RTÉ is 'fully compliant with 2009 Broadcasting Act'

RTÉ’s Chief Financial Officer Conor Hayes has told an Oireachtas Committee that RTÉ does not use TV licence fee money to fund its online service.

Mr Hayes was responding to a previous claim made at the Communications Committee by the National Newspapers of Ireland that RTÉ's online services and advertising are anti-competitive because of licence fee support.

NNI also claimed that RTÉ's anti-competitive behaviour is preventing the NNI titles from being able to compete in a digital environment.

Mr Hayes told the committee that RTÉ acts fairly, competitively and transparently in its commercial activities and that it is fully compliant with the requirements of the 2009 Broadcasting Act.

'RTÉ.ie provides vital news, information and other public service content' he said, one example being its communication of information during the recent severe weather.

He said licence fee funding covers approximately half of RTÉ's public service activities, and the broadcaster has a critical need and legitimate obligation to generate the remainder of its budget requirements from commercial activities.

'The shift to digital advertising has been an international rather than an Irish phenomenon,' the committee was told, and Mr Hayes said the commercial challenges faced by the British and Irish newspaper industry had not been caused by RTÉ's online activities.

Read documents associated with the committee