Currently we have the Television Licence Fee – (€160) which is payable by any household with a television. This fee hasn’t changed since 2008. The money from this goes mainly towards RTE and Tg4 . This current funding method is not fit for purpose in today’s society where television sets are no longer the only method of media content viewing.
Last December (2017) the “Joint Committee on the Future Funding of Public Service Broadcasting” produced a report with some recommendations on the way forward with a Public Broadcasting Charge. These were the main recommendations:
- Responsibility for the TV licence fee collection to be handed over to the Revenue Commissioners.
- Charging to be expanded to include every household in the State (not justthose with a TV set) .
- Concessions to Old Age pensioners and others to be maintained.
- Public Service Broadcasters to be permitted to charge retransmission fees to satellite, cable and Internet service providers.
RTÉ is funded through a mix of licence fee revenue and commercial revenue. In 2008, the total income was €440 million while today that stands at €340 million. (RTÉ returned an operating deficit of €2.9 million in 2015 and a €19.7 million deficit in 2016. ) . Evasion rates have fallen from 15.3% in 2013 to the current rate of 14.6%, but that is still very high.
(In the UK their TV Licence fee is payable by all households – except people who
- never watch or record programmes on any channel as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and
- never download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer –( live, catch up or on demand.)