Ongoing cuts to RTÉ’s content budget are of concern to the advertising industry, Core’s Outlook 2024 report claims. The agency, whose divisions include Starcom, Zenith and Spark Foundry, said that RTÉ’s cost saving plans, which “seem inevitable”, will see budget cuts of €10 million this year. Such retrenchment by the national broadcaster, together with any future content cuts, could accelerate the impact of media fragmentation.
The RTÉ payments scandal meant 2023 was “one of the most significant years in recent times for the TV industry”. Reference was made in the report to the reduction in the number of episodes of soap opera Fair City being broadcast each week from four to three. As broadcasters come under increased financial pressure, and the consumption of linear TV is driven by sport, joint ventures for sports rights may become more commonplace.
Core forecasts growth of 4.1 per cent in overall advertising spend in the Irish market this year, with total investment expected to total €1.53 billion. It follows a “volatile” 2023 where the market grew by an estimated 4.6 per cent to €1.47m. The market is expected to get a lift this year with the staging of the Euro 2024 football tournament and the Olympic Games in Paris. Both TV and print face a difficult year revenue-wise, particularly print.
TV revenue fell by 5.8 per cent to €244.2m last year and is due to drop 3.9 per cent to €234.7m in 2024. Print advertising was down by 11.7 per cent to €75m last year. A further decrease is forecast for this year, with revenue down by 13.1 per to €65.2m. Publishers’ digital revenue was up by 5.4 per cent to €29.4m last year. Core expects further growth this year, with publishers seeing digital revenue climb 7.1 per cent to €31.5m.
Both radio and out of home (OOH) are predicted to grow revenue in 2024. The forecast for OOH is a six per cent jump to €86.2m, restoring the medium’s value to pre-pandemic levels. Radio follows a modest year of growth with Core expecting revenue to rise this year by 1.8 per cent to €157.7m. Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook accounted for 79 per cent of total digital spend in Ireland last year. A similar share is forecast for 2024.
Pictured above is Aidan Greene, chief executive, Core