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RTÉ to avail of Covid-19 wage subsidy scheme as revenues drop by up to 35pc

RTÉ will avail of the government’s emergency wage subsidy scheme to pay staff after revenue fell by up to 35pc during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is understood that workers were notified today that the broadcaster will apply to participate in the Revenue scheme that funds up to 85pc of pay.

Sources said an internal email to staff said that revenue had dropped by between 25pc and 35pc.

The station is struggling following a major decline in ad revenue and TV licence fee income.

It had already embarked on a restructuring plan to slash €60m from costs over the next three years when the pandemic began.

An RTE spokesperson confirmed it will avail of the scheme.

It said in a statement it is in talks with government on a range of issues including the public health crisis and additional emergency measures.

The statement said it is also examining “longer term structural reforms necessary to sustain public broadcasting beyond this crisis”.

“Like many companies and organisations, RTÉ has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.

“RTÉ is seeing significant declines in TV licence fee revenue and in our commercial income.

“RTÉ was already implementing cost-cutting measures as part of our revised strategy, so these declines have put further pressure on finances at a time when the need to provide vital news, information and entertainment to the public is more crucial than ever.”

The media industry has been struggling following a severe decline in advertising revenue, and falling newspaper circulation.

INM, the publisher of Independent.ie, has introduced reduced hours and temporary lay offs, while senior managers have accepted a temporary 10pc pay cut.

Journalists at the Business Post are set for pay cuts up to 15pc and Communicorp, which owns Newstalk, Spin 1038, Spin Southwest, and Today FM, has announced pay cuts of up to 25pc due to the Covid-19 emergency.

The Irish Times has applied a temporary pay cut of up to 30pc for higher-paid managers and editors in the group as part of a series of cost-cutting measures.

From The Irish Independent.