RTÉ recently published a ten-point plan setting a new direction for the radical transformation of the organisation, outlining a vision for a new RTÉ in the form of commitments and actions. Developed to respond to the urgent need for transformation and a restoration of trust, the plan was the first step in a consultation with Government, with the audience, and with staff, the creative sector, and other stakeholders. The plan sets out the framework for the eventual strategic plan for 2024 – 2028, which will be provided to Government and the regulator in the coming weeks.
The New Direction document can be accessed at a-new-direction-for-rte-14-11-23.pdf. It highlights 10 key areas of reform, transformation and change:
- A New Vision for Public Service
- A New Approach on Value for Money
- A New Take on Nationwide Production
- A New Organisation
- A New Strategy for Sectoral Support
- New Digital Products
- New Digital Experiences
- New Protections for Free-to-Air Access
- A New Approach on Financial Management
- A New Framework for Better Governance
Among the key commitments in the plan are:
- A 50% increase in commissioning spend by 2028, as part of a hybrid-production model
- A new ambition to better reflect Ireland by investing in production centres outside Dublin
- A smaller RTÉ through investment in technology, skills and people
- A range of financial and governance reforms
The public, stakeholders and staff were invited to give their views on the New Direction document. A national survey was conducted via the Ipsos B&A Acumen Panel, amongst a representative sample of 1,000+ adults aged 18 years+; an online approach was also applied to the ‘open’ public consultation exercise which was supported by an extensive national media campaign from RTÉ. In addition, an invitation to participate in the online survey was distributed to all RTÉ staff, and among a wider group of RTÉ stakeholders.
There were 2,827 responses to the public consultation survey; 1,033 responses in the national survey; 320 responses in the staff survey; and 232 responses in the stakeholder survey.
- There was broad agreement across the public, national, stakeholder surveys that “RTÉ should become a smaller organisation in pursuit of longer-term financial stability”, with 71% of the public agreeing, and 64% agreement among RTÉ staff.
- 63% of the public, 75% of stakeholder and 43% of RTÉ staff felt that “more of RTÉ’s programmes should be produced by members of the independent production sector.”
- 72% of the public and 69% of RTÉ staff agreed that “RTÉ should make fewer programmes in Dublin, and more outside of Dublin.”
- 81% of the public felt that “RTÉ should increase investment in digital services”, while 95% of staff agreed.
- 71% of stakeholders and 67% of staff believed “that RTÉ is serious about transforming into a better-run organization.”
- 46% of the public and 58% of stakeholders were satisfied “that the plans … outlined will result in a better use of public money.”
In addition, REDC conducted research to collect feedback from stakeholder groups on the strategic plans published in the New Direction for RTÉ document. The report findings can be accessed here.
Kevin Bakhurst, Director-General, RTÉ, says: “The New Direction document sets out the strategic direction and vision for a transformed RTÉ, and is the blueprint for RTÉ’s forthcoming Statement of Strategy 2024-2028. RTÉ’s unique public service character, and values, guide each of the ten points in the outline plan.
As we await a decision on how public media in Ireland will be funded, we recognise the urgent need to restore trust. It was vital that we offered the public, our stakeholders and our staff an opportunity to give their views on the document and hear what they think will make for a better RTÉ. My thanks to everyone who contributed and participated.
Hard choices will be made in this evolution, and what the surveys tell us is that there is wide-ranging support for this new direction. We now have a compelling mandate to deliver a robust strategy that will make the best use of the monies available to fund our national media service, monies we will invest as wisely and strategically as possible to improve the invaluable contribution of public service media to life in Ireland.”