Running Out Of Mileage


From top: RTÉ Television Centre; Vanessa Foran

Accountant and insolvency expert Vanessa Foran (her off the telly!) kindly agreed to have ‘look see’ through RTÉ’s recently published Annual Report for 2016.

What she saw will make you TORCH your remote.

Vanessa writes:

If anyone was watching Broadsheet on the Telly last Thursday night you might remember I had a look at the RTE Annual Report for Broadsheet, but unfortunately we didn’t get to it on the broadcast.

I would like to fill you in on two particular areas that got my attention: The distribution of the Licence Fee income and payments to the directors.

First, a look at allocation of the licence fee.

In 2016, Licence Fee Income was reported as €179.1 million.

Of that 57.4% [€102,803,400] was allocated to television (RTÉ 1 & 2).

Of the €25.7 million allocated to private providers, 14% of total taxpayers’ finance, €22.6 million of it is paid to suppliers outside of our national broadcaster’s jurisdiction or, if you like, Tax Take area.

That’s €22.6 million = 12.6 % of the Irish taxpayers’ 2016 contribution to our national broadcaster.

Money that could go to up and coming screen writers, pilots, animation development, wildlife programming – all sorts of Irish stuff. It might even introduce some new faces to the RTÉ canteen, which I feel confident and competent enough to assume is something we would all like to see.

As a viewer myself, and a taxpayer, I would prefer to see more of this, the above, even if it is awful, than see RTÉ pay for and host repeats of shows I can already get on ITV or TLC, or YouTube.

For comparison, as that’s a requirement of any accountant’s report, the sum spent by our national broadcaster on acquiring programming from Irish suppliers was €3.1 million (1.7%)… €3.1m v €22.6m…1.7% v 12.6%.

[Note: If information that this money was spent on getting into the Rio Olympics and other events, becomes available, then I will reverse my opinion but, as I write this, I am of the opinion that sporting events and such are in the RTÉ Sports and Current Affairs allocations].

Meanwhile, the report’s Governance Section contains the directors’ emoluments….

RTÉ Authority chair Moya Doherty is paid twice what her fellow directors get paid.

Is Ms Doherty worth 100% more than anyone else? Argue that among yourselves but I would have to state, without any apology, that €3,100 plus mileage etc, per meeting, is outrageous.

And while it pales the other sum of €1,600 per head, €1,600 is still outrageous. It is an abuse of taxpayers’ money in my very humble opinion

And it’s all multiplied by 10.

The sum of €41,000 is also recorded for mileage and subsistence (up ten grand from previous) for directors. This is €41,000 of expenses.

Interestingly, there is good attendance at meetings, but with this kind of stipend per meeting why wouldn’t there be?

Charities and your local credit unions are forbidden from paying their directors any fees so why should RTÉ?

Why, in receipt of €179,100,000 from taxpayers, should RTÉ be allowed pay a multi-millionaire €3,100 to attend a meeting? And, repeat it, month after month for 10 meetings a year?

A hospital would never get away with that.

Also, Aengus MacGrianna is the staff representative on the board, and gets this €1,600 (aka a €16k annual top-up.) Why is this coming from RTÉ? Why isn’t his union paying it?

Perhaps the Broadsheet commentariat could decide the answer to this and my other questions between yourselves. But do let me know the outcome.

Vanessa Foran is a principle at Recovery Partners.  Follow Vanessa on Twitter: @vef_pip

Earlier: Muck And Brass

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49 thoughts on “Running Out Of Mileage

  1. Andy

    What’s the definition of “fake news”?

    1. The author’s contention is that RTE spends many many multiples of the license fee on foreign content and doesn’t support up and coming local talent. There are two errors in this assertion.

    (a) The author either ignores or didn’t spot that the “indigenous programming” line item includes indigenous “commissioned work”. This is where RTE outsources production, etc to local Irish talent. The figure for FY 2016 was €37.8mm [Reference Table page 128]. This is 1.8x the €22.6mm spent on International Acquired Programming and represents expenditure on Irish suppliers equal to 23% of the Licence Fee and not the 1.7% she claims.
    (b) Acquired Programming does not relate to “New Film”. It relates to the purchase of finished content from content providers. It doesn’t result in any direct new work for actors, writers, directors etc. It is effectively licensing fees/royalties paid to the content owners. Commissioned work = new work for actors, writers etc.

    2. To sum up a board members duties as simply attending meetings evidences a complete ignorance of the work involved.
    (a) Moya Doherty is the Chairman/Chairperson of the Board of Directors. She has more responsibility than the other directors. She is Dee Forbes boss.
    (b) While the Author appears to be completely clueless about the workload of a Director of a large company, she sought to break down remuneration on a fee per attendance. According to the Author, Doherty attended 10 meetings which equates to €3,100 per meeting. However, again the Author ignores or doesn’t spot the fact that Doherty also attended 3 Audit & Risk Committee meetings and 4 Remuneration & Mgmt Development Committee meetings. So if we want to accurately break it down on a fee per attendence basis the actual figure was €1,800.
    (c) The Author makes the statement that the €41k in expenses are unvouched. This is not supported by anything in her article.

    Seriously lads, if you want to criticize Pravda or whatever you guys call RTE, you need to up your game.

    This is rubbish.

    1. rotide

      Good post, saved me the work of pointing out the ignorance and/or blatant axe grinding going on.

    2. Tabloid Rag

      Why do you think my username is Tabloid Rag?

      They’ll literally give any oul eejit a ‘voice’ on here – e.g Frilly Keening

        1. Rob_G

          I for one am glad to have a super-fan (his interest in my anal cavity notwithstanding).

    3. Christine

      Spot on Andy…there is so much half informed info stated as fact and not opinion on social media…

  2. bdoons

    Always wondered how much reruns of Friends etc etc cost RTE. Same with other American programmes that are utter poo. There must be a few well greased palms who ‘supply’ this drivel

  3. Truth in the News

    The people got rid of water tax, its now time to get rid of television tax and remove RTE out of Dublin 4
    We also have the Dept of Communications paying RTE to run an ad that demands you pay a TV licence
    fee that most of it ends up in RTE……this outfit is not fit for purpose any more and the last people they
    ever consider is the licence payer, there is also the issue of the main news outputs at 6.00 and 9.00 pm
    littered with adds and the end section dominated by sports, to divert attention from the main news and to eat
    up broadcasting time, with the weather slotted in at the end and this needs a sponsor add. too
    Who do these people think they are….the english royalty are not as arrogant :

    1. rotide

      Congratulations on being completely insane.

      RTE news channel shows the news all day. There isn’t a single national broadcaster anywhere in the world that doesn’t have a sports slot on their news and the vast majority of them have commercials.

      Feel free to keep spouting rubbish though.

      1. Frilly Keane

        Jesus you’re in fierce humour Rot
        Everything ok?
        I’m here to listen now so if you want like

        In the meantime
        Think about sum’ting for me

        About how often RTE – particularly RTE news
        Use promo’ing their own shows as content

        So tell us about the Prime Time etc on later tonight
        Well Sharon

        1. rotide

          I’m in grand form, just irked by some blinkered views, like promo’ing content.

          Even the BBC does that.

      2. Truth in the News

        The News is a repeat and the other broadcasters devote little or no space
        on news bulletins to sport, if sport is to be reported it should be in a different
        time slot and not shoved down peoples throats before the weather slot, which
        has to be supported by an add, but there is no add in the middle of the sports
        slot….as for a dose of sanity what about the Boards Members fees and Perks.

  4. rotide

    “RTÉ pay for and host repeats of shows I can already get on ITV or TLC, or YouTube.”

    So not only does the author inaccurately say that RTE spends 3.1m on local content, she happily encourages breaking copyright law.

    good stuff.

        1. Tabloid Rag

          Probably huh?

          Is this similar to your unverifiable claims yesterday that Eamonn Kelly was ritually disembowelling you?

        2. VinLieger

          Actually its not theres a loophole in Irish law that means streaming is grand cus it doesnt make a permanent copy of the content on your device

          1. Tabloid Rag

            You’re ‘probably’ correct VinLieger, I’m sure Rob will change his mind again in 2 secs

          2. VinLieger

            My mistake its actually an EU ruling but here it is

            EUCJ ruling from 2014 “copies [of content from a website] on the user’s computer screen and the copies in the internet ‘cache’ of that computer’s hard disk, made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website, satisfy the conditions that those copies must be temporary, that they must be transient or incidental in nature and that they must constitute an integral and essential part of a technological process . . . and that they may therefore be made without the authorisation of the copyright holders”.


          1. Tabloid Rag

            You’re an absolute dope. Vinlieger has completely discredited your errant nonsense below but like that eejit Rob when challenged with facts that don’t fit your bullpoo prejudices you’re now furiously backpedalling and using weasel words to say viewers are enabling copyright law violation. Seriously have you guys nothing better to do that troll on internet bulletin boards upsetting other trolls like Feral Keening?

    1. Frilly Keane

      What’s illegal about YouTube

      Or ITV
      Or TLC
      Oh Jayus what kinda trouble am I in

      1. rotide

        Youtube isn’t illegal.

        ITV isn’t illegal.

        Uploading Game of Thrones to Youtube is a breach of copyright.

        1. Frilly Keane

          And Sur who said anting about uploading

          The girl only commented on watching and viewing

          Stop acting the ape you

          You’d fall out with yerself so you would

          1. rotide

            It has to be uploaded to be viewed. The viewer might not be breaking any laws (Although that’s entirely up for debate, ask Lars Ulrich) but he is certainly enabling the copyrigh violation.

            Look, we all watch stuff online, It’s a fact of life now.

            However, around these parts there seems to be this theory that if we ignore the fact it’s a copyright violation, it’ll magically go away.

          2. Frilly Keane

            and wha’ da rhymes with púc has any of this to do with the RTE Annual Report, or
            RTE Directors Fees etc

            Its not like RTE have an’ting to do with Game of Thrones
            or House of Cards
            or Stranger Things
            or Big Little Lies
            or Fargo
            or The Crown
            or Making of a Murderer
            or what ever you’re having yourself

            Christ t’night Rottie
            tis like you hopped inta bed there with Andy ’cause he was shaping up and you liked the look of him
            and you’re still trying to figure out what Andy was at in the first place

            you’re what the Tipp crowd call a corner bhoy


          3. rotide

            The author wrote:
            “As a viewer myself, and a taxpayer, I would prefer to see more of this..than see RTÉ pay for and host repeats of shows I can already get on ITV or TLC, or YouTube.”

            She’s not hugely specific but judging by the context she’s talking about acquired US drama like CSI or Grey’s Anatomy. She should not be able to see those shows on Youtube. That’s my point. That’s ignoring the fact that she chooses to pay for TLC and ITV, which one has to assume RTE don’t take for granted every viewer will have access to those channels.

            So she’s starting her analysis of the annual report (which she got wrong, see Andy’s point above and I certainly liked his shapes) on a somewhat flawed premise.

          4. Frilly Keane

            The Author remarked about using the money to invest in new writers, pilots, wildlife and other Irish Stuff.
            Get some new faces into the RTE canteen

            It’s hardly a leap to consider that ITV and TLC etc are probably on the same cable package as RTE so why would you try to unravel that.
            It’s no mystery to me anyway

            Unless you just want to be a bollix
            Is that it?

  5. gepo the great

    tv license doesn’t bother me. i’ve never gotten one. a dude came round about 2 years ago and said i had to get one. i just didnt do anything. and it all went away. now i dont answer the door. anyone i know would tell me before coming over anyway.

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