This Week In Radio 23/7/2022 (Too much interesting data)

Lots happens in the radio industry each week so here’s a summary of the week we just enjoyed.

Here’s What Happened

Image of two people Irish dancing from the RTE 2021 annual report. They look to be outside near a coastline, with a blue sky in the background

The RTÉ annual report was published this week, and as always it contained all sorts of interesting numbers and facts.

You might have seen some of the headlines about RTÉ making a surplus of €2.4 million, but there’s so much more buried in the report. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting bits.

Financial performance

As mentioned above, RTÉ had a surplus after tax of €2.4 million in 2021. This is down from the €7.9 million in 2020. While it’s good that RTÉ are making money, it’s important to note that they saved money as a result of Covid shutdowns. Some big budget productions such as dancing With The Stars didn’t happen in 2021, so it will be interesting to see if RTÉ can continue it’s money making streak into the future.

So, how is RTÉ making it’s money?

  • Commercial revenue was up €13.8 million as there was a boost in advertising particularly in the second half of the year. Licence fee sales dropped 10,000, leading to RTEs licence fee revenue going down by €500,000
  • Total revenue was €344.4 million, up from €331.1 million in 2020.
  • There was a 14.9% increase in TV ad spot revenue. This is important as it’s the biggest contributor to RTEs commercial income.
  • When you include TV sponsorships and product placement deals, the increase is 15.3%. More programs got made in 2021 so there were more opportunities for sponsorship. Drama’s like Kin and Hidden Assets both had sponsors attached in 2021, and we are told that drama sponsorship brought in considerable revenue for the year.
  • Radio saw a total revenue increase of 5.6%. Spot advertising was up 3.7%, sponsorship by 12% and promotions including competitions and outside broadcasts were up 13%. It’s noted in the report that this is despite the restrictions on events, hinting that outside broadcast revenue might increase further.
  • In a fascinating statistic, government advertising accounted for 18.6 percent of radio revenue in 2021, down from 21% in 2020. Those HSE ads are big business
  • Digital revenue is up 23.2% but I won’t overload you with any more numbers. If you want to see more breakdowns they will be linked below.

There are fascinating financial numbers all over the report but I won’t overload you. I’m conscious that this is Radio Land, and some of you only care about the radio side.

Another area that’s interesting is how much from each licence fee goes to each service. I’m only going to cover the radio side here, but all the links below will help you find further info if you’d like it.

Radio and the licence fee

An Irish tv licence costs €160. The numbers below are calculated by taking the cost of a service, and excluding the revenue it brings in. So let’s say the hypothetical RTÉ radio 3 costs €3 million but brings in €2 million, the licence fee covers the other €1 million

So, how much does each service cost?

  • Radio 1 cost €13.06 from each licence fee in 2021, down from €14.04 in 2020
  • €2.49 went from each licence to 2FM also down from 2020 where the cost per licence was €2.71
  • RnaG cost 1 cent less from each licence, costing €8.13 in 2021 compared to €8.14 in 2020
  • Lyric also took less from each licence costing just €3.36, down from €3,62 in the previous year
  • Overall, radio cost €27.04 from each €160 licence, down from 28,51 in 2020

Some really fascinating numbers to be fair, but that’s only scratching the surface. There really is too much interesting data.

If you want to read more about everything that happened for RTÉ in 2021 feel free to explore the links below. Be sure to let us know on social media what you thought, we’re @radiolandIRL on everything.

All the financial stuff is here

What was done in 2021

What was won in 2021

What was made in 2021

QRadio Belfast gave away £10,000 (€11755) this week on Spin To Win.

The competition, which uses the same business model as the Bauer Cash machine, sees contestant’s send a £2 text message for the chance to spin the wheel.

Prizes on the wheel could be anything from a hotel getaway to £10,000. John won the top prize this week.

It’s interesting to see how stations handle competitions, it seems Wireless group are the only big player now without a big competition on air. they have so far stuck to local contests, and haven’t gone down the road of pay per entry.

It’s going to be interesting to see if stations with less money on the line can compete with the likes of the €10,000 2FM clock blocker, or the Bauer cash machine which regularly gives away thousands.

Watch the wheel spin here

Finally this week, the BAI have found that coverage of the Covid-19 vaccine on Newstalk and RTÉ was “editorially legitimate”

There were 11 complaints made regarding the Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk, and one made regarding Today With Claire Byrne on Radio 1.

Most of the complaints claimed the coverage was prejudiced against people who did not avail of the Covid-19 vaccine, but the BAI have rejected this.

People who are not vaccinated do not represent a particular group in society that is given specific protection under either equality legislation or the provisions of our code of programme standards

BAI responding to the complaints

All of these complaints were rejected.

This raised an interesting question. I was talking with someone yesterday who suggested that if someone makes a complaint to the BAI and it fails, they should be charged a fee to cover the time cost.

On one hand this might reduce the number of complaints getting rejected, but on the other is this adding a barrier that shouldn’t exist? I’d never thought about this before, but I’m interested to see what you think. Go vote on our Instagram story now.

Quick Bits

The bAI this week announced they have dismissed a complaint related to O Holy Night being played on RTE Radio 1

An online radio station for blind and visually impaired people in Ireland launched this week (full disclosure, I am involved in assisting the NCBI with this project)

Kathryn Thomas is hoping for her own radio gig soon as she’s been filling in for Ray Darcy for years

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that Dublin media is only interested in Northern Ireland when there’s a crisis

Last week we discussed the closing of the times Ireland Edition, and how it would impact wireless group stations. 11 journalists have now left after they were told of 30% pay cuts

Irish presenter Laura Whitmore has left BBC Radio 5 Live

Ryan Tubridy is taking his holidays, he’s not retiring as some news websites suggested in their headlines

New research has found that reginal accents seem to work better in advertising

Second Captains has secured Audi as sponsor

And that’s the summary for this week. Come back to radio land next week for more radio news📻 and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for extra stories.