New legislation proposed under a five year review will include an assessment of licence fee and commercial revenues that will be introduced alongside new rules on the use of public money by broadcasters.
It is the first time that licence fee and commercial revenue obtained by RTE will be considered together.
A consultation is being launched for a new ‘Public Service Broadcasting Charge’ that will replace the current television licence. The charge is designed to address evasion of the fee as well as the technological advances that have seen many access television online.
The new charge effectively means every household will pay for public broadcasting, regardless of whether they own a TV or not.
There are also concerns about subscriptions to pay-TV from outside of Ireland.
Minister Rabbitte explained that, in order to meet these challenges “Irish broadcasters must continue to adapt and develop, both in terms of content offerings and the manner in which services are provided”.
He noted the very significant and difficult savings that had been made in both RTÉ and TG4 in the last number of years.
He added that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland recommendations suggest that while existing levels of funding are sufficient for the moment, additional public funds are likely to be required if RTÉ, in particular, is to remain relevant in this changing media landscape.