Friday 28 October 2016

Love/Hate DVDs help RTE to huge €4.5m profit


Peter Coonan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Love/Hate
Peter Coonan and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor in Love/Hate

THE RTE body behind DVD sales, the RTE Guide and the RTE Player has almost doubled its profits since 2006. RTE Commercial Enterprises, the commercial arm of the State broadcaster, is now trading significantly better than it did during the boom.

The accounts show RTE Commercial made a profit of €4.5m last year, up from €4.4m in 2013.

This is a substantial increase on the full-year profit of €2.6m recorded in 2006, and is almost four times higher than the €1.2m profit made in 2007.

A significant proportion of its business is related to DVD sales of RTE shows like Love/Hate. New accounts just filed by the company outlined that RTE Commercial's turnover of €23.7m last year compares with sales of €23.5m in 2007 and €22.4m in 2006.

The increased profitability comes despite the fact that revenue has been largely flat over the past decade or so.

The reduction mainly comes due to a trimming of operating costs, which declined from €22m in 2007 to €19.1m in 2014.

A total of 70 people worked for the company during the year, the same amount as in 2013, while staff costs rose slightly, increasing from €5.1m to just over €5.4m. Last week, RTE revealed that the organisation made a modest surplus of €200,000 last year, compared with a profit of €700,000 in 2013.

RTE had recorded a deficit in the four years prior to 2013.

Despite effectively breaking even, RTE raised the issue of licence fee evasion in its annual report, saying that the current method of collection was "not fit for purpose".


Commercial sales at the station as a whole were about €150m, up by €4.4m on the previous year. However, its share of licence fee revenue was €178.6m, down €3.8m, which effectively cancelled out the gains made on the commercial side of the operation.

The annual report noted that evasion levels in Ireland were "over three times higher than those experienced in the UK and Germany", and added that collection costs were more than double compared with other European counterparts.

Communications Minister Alex White has previously said that he intends to introduce legislation to enable better collection of the fee.

It's estimated that about 15pc of those liable for the licence fee do not pay it - a loss of almost €30m.

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