RTÉ tailors content for the digital age

4 Oct 2005

In what is the second content deal within a week, RTÉ has entered into a joint initiative with new mobile operator 3 Ireland that will result in the introduction of video highlights of news bulletins on 3 phones. Last week, RTÉ forged an agreement to produce its programmes in widescreen through NTL’s TV service.

According to 3, mobile customers will be able to receive video highlights of RTÉ news directly on their 3 mobile handsets. In total more than 20 video news clips of around two minutes duration will be made available daily.

“Content is the key driver of what we offer,” a spokesman for 3 told siliconrepublic.com. The inclusion of RTÉ news bulletins adds to an already impressive line-up of video content available on 3’s network. This includes highlights and goals from all of this season’s matches from the Barclays Premiership and UEFA Champions League, film clips, comedy sketches, video horoscopes and MTV music clips. In addition, 3’s customers can also access breaking news text bulletins, weather reports, the latest GAA scores and news through its content partner Setanta Sports and various other international sports news through Sky Sports.

3 launched its 3G mobile service across Ireland on 30 July with 99.5pc population coverage and with services available on a postpaid basis. However, rumours have been circulating lately that the company is planning its assault on the Christmas market with a postpaid service. The 3 spokesman told siliconrepublic.com he was unaware of such plans.

“Today’s initiative is reflective of our strategy to work and collaborate with local service providers in providing quality, relevant content that our customers can tap into,” commented Bob Fuller, CEO of 3 Ireland and UK.

Muirne Laffan, executive director of RTÉ Publishing, said: “This latest initiative with 3 demonstrates RTÉ’s continued innovation and the consumer appetite for news that is fair and impartial, accurate and challenging. As Ireland’s public service broadcaster, RTÉ’s strategy is to engage audiences wherever they are, on their device of choice, be it TV, radio, the internet or mobile.”

As well as catering for the small screen, RTÉ also last week unveiled its plans for the widescreen at a time when discerning TV viewers are demanding such services and large-scale consumer electronics giants are pushing for an eventual move by broadcasters towards the world of high-definition TV.

Last week the broadcaster revealed plans to provide widescreen TV viewing from RTÉ channels via NTL’s digital network. The aim of this initiative is to offer the panoramic picture quality of RTÉ One and RTÉ Two widescreen programming and transmit it in digital format from the production facility direct to the viewer’s TV.

Dermot Horan, director of broadcast and acquisitions at RTÉ, said: “As the public service broadcaster, RTÉ is committed to delivering innovation in broadcasting and programming to its viewers and will continue to work with companies such as NTL to extend new advancements and technologies to a wider audience. As autumn and spring unfolds on our screens, the majority of our programmes — including The Late Late Show, Tubridy Tonight, Fair City, rugby and soccer coverage, religious services, Winning Streak — will be broadcast in widescreen. Moving forward, new commissions will also be produced in the new format.”

Mark Mohan, sales and marketing director of NTL Ireland, said: “It is our intention to support Irish indigenous broadcasters and to work closely with them so that our customers benefit from and experience a host of new and improved services through our product offering.”

Pictured: Mark Mohan, sales and marketing director of NTL Ireland, and Dermot Horan, director of broadcast and acquisitions, RTÉ

By John Kennedy