RTÉ annual report reveals deficit of €2.8m last year

The broadcaster says it saw a €5m reduction in public funding

RTE, annual report, spending, wages, deficit, costs, licence fee, public funding, Kevin Bakhurst

The RTÉ Montrose campus in Donnybrook, Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

State broadcaster RTÉ has revealed it saw a deficit after tax of €2.8m last year.

Its annual report for 2015 says this was due to "inevitable cost pressures," including the impact of foreign currency.

This was also despite commercial revenue growth of 4% and reduced operating costs, which were some 27% lower than 2008 levels.

The broadcaster also says it saw a €5m reduction in public funding in the 2014 Budget and static income from the licence fee.

The annual report shows that wages, social welfare costs and pension costs all increased when compared with 2014.

Spending on music licences and direct commissioned programmes were among other areas that also grew.

However, RTÉ says it saw an operating profit before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €14m in 2015.

Kevin Bakhurst, deputy director-general of RTÉ, said: "Costs remained substantially down on 2008 levels and successive independent reviews find RTÉ's operations to be efficient."

"Yet, while we managed to deliver some increases in commercial revenue, overall the public funding base remained static and is, in real terms, declining."

"Evasion levels (14%) and the steady increase in homes without a television set are creating a critical environment for RTÉ and its ability to support the wider cultural sector in Ireland," he added.

But Bakhurst continued: "Without a meaningful review of public funding, RTÉ will remain financially challenged, and unable to maintain or increase investment in the sector."

Some 1,643 full-time employees worked at RTÉ last year - an increase from 1,584 in 2014.

The report also found that the number of homes with Saorview, the free-to-air provider, grew by 10% in 2015 to 676,000.