Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

RTE in legal row after festive listings mistake

RTE faces being sued by rival station TV3 over “significant and egregious” errors when it mixed its listings up with UTV in the Christmas edition of the RTE Guide.

The legal row has erupted following a major error in the Boxing Day listings in the RTE Guide, which saw TV3's listings mixed up with UTV. TV3 says the error is so serious that it could have a fundamental impact on its Christmas viewing figures.

The commercial station has also complained about a poor level of exposure to its films over the Christmas period in the RTE Guide.

RTE has confirmed it has received legal correspondence from its rival, and said the matter was now being dealt with.

RTE, which earlier this year announced losses of almost €70m and receives over €200m a year in licence fee money, has admitted the error, saying it was as a result of a mistake in production made by an external supplier. It denied there was any malice in the errors, saying it has promoted TV3 shows on its cover three times this year.

Legal notice was sent last Thursday to RTE on behalf of TV3.

Maureen Catterson of TV3 confirmed that the station was pursuing the situation legally. She said: “We have no problem with honest mistakes but when it's this many at such an important time of year, we need them to be fixed and rectified so we can all move on.”

In response, Muirne Laffan, executive director of RTE Publishing, said: “We have endeavoured to mitigate the errors and have addressed it on our website, where we have published the correct television listings. However, we feel the demands from TV3 are excessive and cannot be met.”

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