RTE will be invited to come before the Oireachtas Communications Committee to respond to claims made yesterday by the Irish newspaper industry that the station’s online activities are not competing fairly against the online services offered by newspapers.
At a meeting of the Committee earlier today, representatives from the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) called for the remit of broadcasters benefiting from State aid to be strictly enforced.
They claimed that the investment in their own online services are being undermined by RTÉ’s digital activities and that the national broadcaster had an unfair advantage through its ability to promote its own products. They cited instances of the State broadcaster using its privileged position to gain online advertising at the expense of newspapers who would have to pay significant sums for similar advertising exposure.
Committee Chairman, MJ Nolan TD said yesterday;
“Newspapers are an essential in a pluralistic and diverse media landscape. We heard today of the industry’s strong grievance against what they deem to be the inequitable advantage RTÉ has in terms of online promotion. They argued that this has a serious impact on their ability to raise revenue.
This is a potentially serious matter. The economic downturn has not spared the media industry which has seen some newspapers go to the wall. Therefore, we will be calling on RTE to offer a robust response to this assessment and justify as activity in this area. We hope that RTE will assent to our request at the earliest possible time.”