The on-demand service of Irish Public Service Broadcaster RTÉ has gained notoriety for its relative instability and unreliability.
Writing to the Republic of Ireland’s Public Accounts Committee, Vivienne Flood, RTÉ’s head of public affairs claimed the broadcaster needs “several million euro” of capital investment to deal with the issues. The money would be used to bring the service up to industry standards, according to the statement.
The service frequently suffers during major sports events and shows with large numbers of online audiences. This has led to numerous complaints over the years from viewers. Some of the issues include ads looping without end, streams crashing and poor picture quality.
Flood told the Committee that the RTÉ Player would require “additional specialist skills which will require increased operating expenditure”. However, a precise figure for the upgrade work could not be provided. The Committee was told “further product technical scoping and benchmarking” would be required to confirm costs.
Like similar services from other broadcasters, RTÉ Player combines live streams with on-demand and catch-up TV. Content includes RTÉ’s own shows and a selection of bought-in programmes shown on its channels.
The international version of RTÉ Player, which excludes some programmes due to rights reasons, is popular with members of the Irish diaspora in the UK and beyond.
RTÉ Player’s poor performance has become a frequent hot topic at recent Irish parliamentary sessions. Speaking before the Oireachtas media committee, RTÉ’s director general Dee Forbes was forced to address concerns. Forbes confirmed the broadcaster had already spent “a lot of time and money” improving the service.