RTÉ outlines plans for next five years

A new UK DAB station and the development of partnerships with Irish content owners to reach audiences outside of Ireland:

These form the cornerstones of Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ's plans to serve audiences outside the island of Ireland in the next five years.

It's part of the broadcaster's new five-year strategy, that has been published today. Within Ireland, RTÉ wants to invest more heavily in drama and develop its online services, with a revamped RTÉ Player in the works.

According to its plans, RTÉ says it wants to pursue a "digital-first" strategy, that will see more of its content being made available online, reacting to the changing media landscape it operates in. It has promised to continue to develop partnerships with Irish content owners to provide "an unrivalled platform (e.g. RTÉ Player and GAAGO) for Irish content to reach a broad range of audiences, both in Ireland and abroad". A new "digital lab" will work on short-form content to reach younger audiences.

Long wave broadcasting will be phased out, with a DAB station to become available in the UK as a replacement service to reach the Irish diaspora, alongside existing online streams. Within Ireland, RTÉ sees FM, rather than DAB as the future, with podcasts and online live streams offering "more convenience", according to the broadcaster.

It also wants to "reimagine" its news and current affairs service, by moving content away from linear broadcasts in favour of on-demand services, although core news output on traditional TV and radio services will be protected. In recent weeks, there have been reports that RTÉ may, as a result, close the linear RTÉ News Now channel.

RTÉ's strategy is based on an assumption the Irish licence fee collection system would be reformed by the Government in the next couple of years and that the reform would lead to "increased public funding from 2019."

The last five-year strategy, published in 2013, included proposals for a new linear TV service for the UK, which never materialised, after a difficult few years for the broadcasters finances, which saw it making losses and undergoing a major staff reduction exercise.

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