RTÉ and TG4 have joined forces with commercial operator Virgin Media in a plea to the chairman of the Future of the Media Commission regarding the importance of Irish channels on streaming and on-demand services.
All three operators are deeply concerned about the loss of Irish stations on platforms in the digital age.
Media Minister Catherine Martin recently announced that the Online Security and Media Regulation Bill would give the future Media Commission the power to demand
Pay TV services such as Sky to ensure the prominence of Irish public service channels and content to ensure they remain ‘easily findable and discoverable’.
The Media Commission is expected to draw up guidelines in this regard and the three Irish channels have urged the Future Media Commission to make it an urgent requirement.
The letter to commission chairman Brian MacCraith said: “It’s not very often that RTÉ, TG4 and Virgin Media agree on media policy.
“But as the Commission finalizes its report, we would collectively like to draw your attention to an issue of material importance to all of us – the urgent need for effective legislation and regulatory policy regarding the importance of channels, services and Irish public service content on and emerging platforms for television, streaming, VOD (video on demand), etc. and smart TVs.
They welcomed Martin’s amendment, but expressed concern that the introduction of guidelines would take some time.
“Our collective concern is that given all the urgent issues that the new Media Commission must consider, without real impetus from the Commission for the Future of Media and Government, the development of codes and the practical application of the policy could take several years. far, ”the letter continues.
“Given the rapidity of developments in this area, it would be far too late and risk considerably harming the reach and relevance of national broadcasters, when they are already under considerable strain.
“Therefore, we ask that the Commission on the Future of the Media make a recommendation in your final report, that the next bill should include a time-limited provision to create a clear timetable for the Media Commission to develop and operationalize the codes.
“This problem is of the highest priority for all of us. “
The letter was signed by Dee Forbes, CEO of RTÉ; Alan Esslemont, Managing Director of TG4; and Paul Farrell, Managing Director of Virgin Media Television.