RTÉ, the State broadcaster, has published its 2008 annual report which revealed that the station last year broke even with a total revenue of €441 million.
Mary Finian, Chairman of the Board of RTÉ, highlighted the extent to which the economic downturn affected the broadcaster; “RTÉ’s Annual Report and Group Financial Statements 2008 is the final report of my term as Chairman of the RTÉ Authority. As we entered 2008 none of us foresaw the difficulties that lay ahead but I am pleased to report that, despite the economic downturn, RTÉ turned in a creditable performance with break even results.”
In a press statement commenting upon the report, the State Broadcaster details how for the first nine months in 2008 the organisation demonstrated a “strong financial performance” however, in the last quarter of the year “difficult trading conditions” were clearly reflected.
RTÉ reacted to the situation by reducing costs to ensure that there was no financial deficit at the end of year trading in 2008.
According to the statement, in spite of the difficult commercial pressures and demands which faced the staion as a result of the economic recession, the national broadcaster demonstrated “creative and competitive performances across all activities” last year.
RTÉ radio prospered with increases in audience listenership being reported by JNLR polls.
RTÉ in June of last year launched their first 24-hour online news service, available worldwide, whilst their online operations continued to build audiences at home and abroad with RTÉ.ie generating on average 48 million PIPM during the year and attracting 2.4 million unique users representing a growth of 50% year-on-year. The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Performing Groups celebrated their 60th anniversary.
In his review of 2008, RTÉ Director-General, Cathal Goan said:
“This Annual Report for 2008 reflects the realities which face RTÉ and Irish society in general as a result of the convulsions in economic life at home and abroad. 2008 was a year which started well but ended worryingly; it was a year when creative and competitive performance across all activities was remarkable; it was also a year in which an economic downturn – the real extent of which no one had fully anticipated – came with unprecedented rapidity. In its wake, RTÉ, in common with all other players in Irish life, faces new and stark realities.”