TV3 Triumphs in Competition Authority Complaint Against RTÉ


BRUSSELS: The Competition Authority in Ireland has completed its investigation into RTÉ‘s commercial practices, following a complaint lodged by TV3, with the pubcaster agreeing to abolish its "share deal" scheme.

The Irish free-to-air channel TV3 took issue with the public broadcaster, saying that RTÉ was abusing its dominance in TV advertising founded on a system of "dual financing" by demanding that advertisers spend a percentage of their total TV advertising with RTÉ. TV3 estimates this may have cost the group more than 30 million euros over the past five years, and also impacted its employees and shareholders.

Ross Biggam, the director general of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe, said: “It is impossible to overstate the significance of this decision. Ireland has long been characterized by an extraordinary degree of dominance enjoyed by the dual-financed public broadcaster RTÉ, whose advertising sales practices have now been found to be an abuse of their dominant position.”

Commenting on the Competition Authority’s investigation, David McRedmond, the CEO of TV3 Group, added: “The state aid of RTÉ has led to a shocking abuse of dominance as the broadcaster has been totally unregulated. Government and the regulators must now step in to rescue the advertising market. RTÉ’s dual-funding model has failed, and now that this market abuse has been uncovered regulators must ensure transparency and fairness in RTÉ’s commercial operations. We want immediate action.”

Pat Kiely, the commercial director of TV3 Group, commented: “In our dealings with advertisers and their agencies, the RTÉ Share Deals have been a grossly unfair impediment. At a time when TV3’s audience has been growing significantly (set against RTÉ’s decline) advertisers have been massively restricted in allocating their ad spend in line with this trend and punished when they attempted to do so. Nor should RTÉ be allowed to sell below cost to the detriment of the whole industry.”