Nothing To See Here


From top: RTÉ Television Centre; Minister for Communications Richard Bruton

This morning.

The Government has agreed to replace the TV licence fee with a “device independent broadcasting charge”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Minister Bruton said the new system must be ‘robust’ and capable of addressing the rapidly changing media and technology landscape.

He said a working group set up to examine the issue had not established whether everyone with a smartphone or tablet would have to individually pay the charge, adding that those details had yet to be ‘worked out’.

A new five-year contract for the collection of the licence fee will be put out to public tender later this year….

Govt announces major reforms to TV licence fee (RTÉ)



49 thoughts on “Nothing To See Here

      1. Col

        I was enjoying the increasingly threatening letters from on post.
        “Seriously now, this time we mean it! If you buzz an inspector into your apartment building, then answer the door and tell him your details, we will bring you to court!!!”

        1. B9Com From No

          Yes they do fupp all

          Even if they have your name they can legally do nothing as they have no evidence unless they actually enter your home – don’t let them in

    1. Cian

      If An Post lose this contract – it will be another nail in their coffin. More rural post offices will close…

    1. B9Com From No


      I can’t fupping WAIT until someone shows up on my door trying this


        1. B9Com From No

          See above
          If you’ve never paid it they have no evidence you were ever liable
          If you are unlucky enough to be a on a list of people who had previously paid it it’s harder to avoid – all you could do then is claim you disposed of your TV
          Never let them in the house – ever

          1. Rob

            Yep, I signed the declaration that I don’t have a TV. The TV inspector saw a sky dish on the roof, made me remove the cable, and have had no trouble with them since. Old sky dish was left by landlord, the LNB came off in the wind so was swinging around the place. Wasnt getting a signal, and sure who pays for TV these days anyway.

  1. eoin

    Also, how could Audrey Carville keep a straight face on Morning Ireland needling Bruton about RTE’s recent spate of losses (it broke even in 2013 and 2014), knowing that her colleague on Morning Ireland, Bryan Dobson gets a basic of €198,146 [in 2016], plus pension and other costs.

    The RTE under its current management and Dee Forbes is unable to cut its cloth according to its means. Dee needs to go.

      1. Rob

        If you listened to TV3/Virgin over the years they will say that the advertising revenue is not comparable to other countries due to the fact that the big player in RTE is funded by the tax payer. So if the advertising rates were paid at market prices, they should be able to get by without the license fee.

        1. garrett

          @rob. Your comment is the key in this debate.
          RTE sell advertising for way below market rates because they don’t have to worry about money

          Case in point: rte financial losses in 2018: €13 million
          Cost of rte orchestras in 2018: €16 million
          That’s 45,000 a day.
          by the by, rte are legally obliged to maintain orchestras
          Hands up all those who would miss the orchestras?

          Finally ,there’s flat rate expense allowances (additional tax relief for workers) that Revenue allow you to claim. Flat-rate expenses are those that cover the cost of equipment your employee needs for work. This equipment may include tools, uniforms and stationery.

          Waiters can claim €80 a year
          Members of RTEs’ orchestras can claim €2476 a year.
          That’s 2476 a year, every year, for musical instruments.
          All for a fcuking vanity project; 2 orchestras.

          Then there’s the Garda band, 2 million a year, 29 Gardaí not on the beat
          And the Army bands, 3 in total. 97 members. 3 BANDS?

          And the funniest of all?
          RTE spend licence money developing their online content then whinge that people who watch online don’t pay for the service.
          I always pay my tv licence because I don’t want to end up in Court, but damned of I’ll pay a broadcasting licence. No way

  2. Mountain Talk

    “Govt announces major reforms to TV licence fee” should read “Govt announces new way to get money for failing state channel” If RTE wants money, or whoever wants to see it. The modern template is there. Pay in to a platform like Netflix. Then we’ll run the numbers. You got 4 subscribers! Oh, ok

    1. paul

      they even say it in the article, this change is designed to catch people who don’t have a television.

  3. Listrade

    Good news podcast fans, we have this idea covered (sort of). Episode of Revisionist History from a few weeks ago:

    It’s about the moral reasoning used by Jesuits, but one of the key aspects is about not applying old models/policies to new problems and trying to “reason” them out to establish where things stand morally. Short version: politically we are continually stuck with bad policy and bad legislation because politicians keep applying old models to new problems.

    And here we go again.

    I like the idea of public funded broadcasting, but I don’t think there’s any model of broadcasting that truly “nails” it. BBC is decent…as long as you’re in a certain club. But they do try new things on different platforms and they do encourage new voices through various schemes and open entries.

    It was easy to licence in the past. TV? Cool, pay up. TV aerial? Cool, pay up. Sure there was the problem from the 80s of only using TV for console games or Videos, but we could more or less say if you had a TV, you received a broadcast. That was its primary function.

    Not so with phones and tablets. How do you define who owns them? What about older generation phones? They could be used at the time for watching programmes (Netflix, etc), but as the software is updated, those phones and tablets are no longer supported. We’ve a first gen iPad mini that isn’t even useful for Youtube as the software version is supported anymore.

    Is Youtube to be included? Twitch? Netflix? Nice to have to potentially pay additional for services like Netflix or Amazon. What happens with Brexit if they are based in 3rd countries? Then again, if you bring Youtube and Twitch into the broadcasting definition, what does that mean for Irish content creators?

    But all they know is the old model. Devised when it was easy. All they see is RTE claiming revenue is falling, so that must me we’re all criminals refusing to not pay our TV licence. Or is it people using computer/tablets/phone and watching mostly paid streaming services? Let’s be honest, that’s where most of the quality content is.

    The between the lines argument is that RTE is losing out because of deliberate criminal activity, rather than supply and demand has moved people to better content WHICH THEY ARE PAYING A SUBSCRIPTION FOR. There’s your hint. People will pay for good stuff. We saw the exact same thing with pirating music, once iTunes came along, people were happy to pay for digital songs and most (not all) were happy to legally access digital content.

    Hint. hint. Good content = higher probability of people paying.

    But here we go again, politicians deciding policy based on an old model because that’s all they know and heaven forbid they accept that they don’t know enough to start looking at a new model.

    It’ll be grand.

    1. Cian

      I think you are slightly off. The original model for a TV licence (and radio licence before that) wasn’t that it was ‘easy’ to charge people with aerials – but that if you used the service you should pay for it. Back then, having a TV was a rarity, so it made sense that it wasn’t paid from general taxation – but directly from the people that used the service.

      Once TV became ubiquitous the model should have changed – pay for TV from general taxation. But the reason (that I was told) for not doing that is that it would put the RTE budget at the mercy of the government of the day, which would make RTE less impartial.

      1. Listrade

        Ok, maybe not as easy as my simplified version, but the point remains that the old model should not be the basis for future licencing.

        We still haven’t addressed RTE spending. Not just wages, the allegations of how it uses the licence fee to outbid for foreign TV and Films.

        How will we define broadcasting? It specifically excludes streaming content at the moment. If we include, how does that go for licencing broadcasters? Do Irish content creators need to be regulated by Broadcasting Authority?

        EU broadcast law means we can only apply standards to broadcasts originating in Ireland. That’s always been a problem because so much content is UK Based via sky etc. In fact UK is the base to a significant majority of broadcast companies with a European footprint. That’s going to be awkward with Brexit.

        We won’t be able to include tablets and phones for streaming content that isn’t based here. So that would effectively mean only RTE player (not sure if Virgin Media would be included, probably for the free content and catch up). What if I don’t use RTE Player or Virgin? So if it would be practically impossible to include Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, Twitch, or any other media or website that isn’t RTE/Virgin/TG4…what’s the point?

        To access all content on Virgin Media, I need a log in and account. Provide a username and log in with TV Licence for RTE player. Gonna mess up those abroad who want to watch the GAA live…but screw them amaright?

        We have potential problems with EU law. We have a right to “free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use services of their choice” via the internet. We pay subscriptions for streaming services. We have free services. Ireland can only regulate Irish broadcasts. Ireland’s broadcast legislation must meet EU laws. None of this can work.

        1. Batty Brennan

          Indeed. This kite flying exercise serves but one purpose. Since the inevitable outcome of this purported model is failure (for the reasons you give), it is a precursor to a general tax on every head of the population. Listen out for the jingoistic “compliant taxpayer” phrase coming soon to a state broadcaster near you.

          1. GiggidyGoo

            D4bes was answering her questions on the News At One and mentioned that this charge could be included in utility bills. She’s treading water in a deep pool..

          2. eoin

            I’ve just heard that. After all the we need more funding, we need better collections, we need more money, moan-moan-moan, she was then asked could RTE justify paying €500,000 salaries and D4bes (great name!) replied they’d have to look at that.

            If RTE was being properly run, the #1 thing it would do before coming begging from the public would be to cut the €500,000 salaries, if only for optics or to not look too brazen, but it’s the LAST thing on D’s mind.

            That tells you all you need to know about these chancers who turned a break-even in 2013 and 2014 into deficits that are nearing €40m since D4bes took over.

    2. Mountain Talk

      I agree, great point and really highlights their lack of vision or understanding. In sense they could make way more money becoming a cultural- Irish streaming service. Adding way more content. Think of any short movie made. Student movies. Archive material. Public uploads. The list goes on. All for 1euro a month like a New York Times subscription.
      But like most institutional things in this country – let’s see what works in the UK

  4. Mountain Talk

    I agree, great point and really highlights their like of vision or understanding. In sense they could make way more money becoming a cultural- Irish streaming service. Adding way more content. Think of any short movie made. Student movies. Archive material. Public uploads. The list goes on. All for 1euro a month like a New York Times subscription.
    But like most institutional things in this country – let’s see what works in the UK

  5. eoin

    Jeybus C Almighty, another RTE apparatchik or independent producer saying “well, RTE hasn’t had an increase in the licence fee for the past 10 years”

    Inflation is flat over the past 10 years, and hasn’t RTE been saying it’s tackling overinflated salaries?

    And, over the past 10 years, the population of the country has increased by 10%, so 10% more households should equal 10% more income for RTE despite its costs staying the same or falling.

    Is no-one capable of challenging RTE about the rubbish it is spouting to justify an increase. It broke even in 2013 and 2014. Under Dee Forbes since 2016, it has run up deficits of nearly €40m. It will run out of cash next year despite getting €108 million when it sold off land to developers at Montrose. It is plainly an incompetently managed organisation which wants the public to pay for baby infants-level governance and outrageous salaries.

    1. Zaccone

      +1. Perfectly put.

      RTE absolutely provides a valuable service in terms of news, sports, and local productions. But thats it. It could do all of that on RTE1.

      Theres no need to be paying presenters 500k a year. Theres no need to spend millions bringing in American programming when its all on other channels anyway.

  6. Custo

    This is going to be totally unworkable.

    I don’t have a television, I pay for Netflix, amazon video, eurosport & nowtv (when needed).

    I don’t have Rte player installed on any devices.

    I pay 3mobile a fee each month to use data, and pay Virgin for broadbabd. I have bought the devices & have paid VAT on each.

    What is the charge actually going to be for? What service am I /have I not already paid for?

    1. Mountain Talk

      I think everyone coming here (to Broadsheet) is on the same page. W/ regards they know it’s unworkable but they’ll endeavor to make it workable. Then it’s a question access to the internet versus Rights. Digital Rights. To the greatest free open tool ever invented. Versus the interests that want to turn it into a phone box or a TV (w/ bland content between ads).
      On a side note – you tell by looking at him (director of communications) he’s never logged into anything, And when he tried RTE online he got confused by “Please download the latest Flash Player”.

  7. B9Com From No

    Anton Savage is on with Miriam waffling about fancy cars.
    Good times.

    Worth every penny I’m telling yas

  8. Formerly known as

    Dump the stupid license idea. In Australia, the ABC is funded from general taxation. That works well.

  9. BS

    Compare the BBC to RTE. now I know bbc have a massive amount more money to play with due to population, so let’s put quality of productions aside for the most part.

    Concentrate on talent, basic production values, range of programming and innovation. RTE fall down on all of those compared to the bbc. And Rte prop themselves up with advertising revenue and still can’t break even?

    Graham norton does a radio show and a weekly tv chat show and is paid something like £180k, open to correction.

    Tubs does 5 hours or radio a week and 2 1/2 hours of tv a week and is paid €495k (in 2016) I’m sure it’s a lot more now.

    1. Jeffrey

      To be honest I dont think more money = better content always. There has been a few Nature series recently which clearly didnt cost an arm and a leg to produce and were very enjoyable. By more money RTE seems to think that buying US series will save them they are wrong. Good Irish content could however.

  10. Jeffrey

    In France you still need to pay for your “redevance” – read TV licence – via general taxation but they failed to yet bring in computer screens and other devices other than TV, VCR – since 2004 they keep trying but failing each time for various reasons.

  11. McVitty

    Well, the terms for TV license are brutal – if you have a TV that can be repaired to receive broadcast, you are liable for the fee. If they port that mentality to the new model, then basically this will be a shakedown and may as well be collected via general taxation.


    1. Is RTE impartial or non-partisan on issues? I think not – especially where acknowledging nationalism is concerned. They are clearly dealing with advocacy groups – whether that be pro-EU or liberal agenda.
    2. Does RTE produce enough home-grown content? I think not – we don’t need them airing US TV shows. Maybe they can take a different approach and work on lowering costs. With that said, RTE cover a lot of ground in the wider arts, including the National Symphony Orchestra. But as a broadcaster, RTE can work more effectively with less. GAA coverage is something RTE does pretty well, though broadcasting on TG4 is a double-edged sword.

    There are other questions but RTE needs to look less like a rent-seeker pushing agenda based programming and more like a cultural institution that is genuinely inclusive and reflective/becoming of the country it broadcasts to.

  12. some old quare

    Here is an idea- before you go charging for streaming onto mobile devices or laptops- FIX THE FRIGGEN PLAYER.

    Big launch on the new curtains and still the same poo- seriously- what is the problem?

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