Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment

Public Service Broadcasting: Discussion (Resumed).

5:00 pm

Photo of Michael McDowellMichael McDowell (Independent)
Link to this: Individually | In context | Oireachtas source

I am conscious that it is late in the evening. I welcome everybody and thank them for participating in this formal meeting. As hinted earlier it might be necessary at some point for us to have a more informal discussion about some of the issues that are being raised.

It may come as a bit of a shock to Mr. Esslemont to hear this but before he came into the room a previous speaker had suggested that TG4 might give up advertising and that it might benefit from that in terms of audience satisfaction. My question feeds into an issue raised earlier by Deputy Eamon Ryan. Is it crucial for TG4 to be in a position to advertise and what percentage of its budget does advertising income represent? As I said, it was suggested that TG4 might be better off giving up advertising. Mr. Esslemont mentioned in his presentation that TG4 is a at a serious disadvantage compared with TV3 in terms of its permitted number of minutes per hour of advertising. Some of us might confess to having watched "Tonight with Vincent Browne" in our darkest hours. It is true that one can put out the bins and make a good cup of tea during the advertising breaks for that programme. Is there an advantage in TG4 becoming an advertisement-free zone, as suggested earlier in Mr. Esslemont's absence?