Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE has confirmed it will make use of the Government’s Covid-19 temporary wage subsidy scheme.
The scheme is available to employers who have lost a minimum of 25% of turnover because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the broadcaster said it is seeing “significant declines in TV licence revenue and commercial income”.
“Like many companies and organisations, RTE has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. RTE is seeing significant declines in TV licence revenue and in our commercial revenue.
“RTE was already implementing cost-cutting measures as part of our revised strategy, so these declines have put further pressure on finances at a time when the need to provide vital news, information and entertainment to the public is more crucial more than ever.”
“RTE will avail of the Government’s Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme and is engaged in a dialogue with Government on a range of issues at present including the public health crisis, additional emergency measures and longer-termed structural reforms necessary to sustain public broadcasting beyond the crisis.”
RTE director general Dee Forbes said: “With both revenue streams seeing large declines, we are forecasting that these revenues could be reduced by 25% – 35% for the year.”
RTE announced last year it is seeking to cut its workforce by 200 as one of a series of measures to improve its financial position and reduce costs by 60 million euro over the next three years.
Salaries for the 10 highest paid RTE presenters, who mainly work as contractors rather than staff, added up to three million euro in 2016.
The broadcaster also pledged to reduce the fees paid to their top contracted on-air presenters by 15%, which it said is in addition to cuts of more than 30% agreed in previous years.