A Note from Geraldine O’Leary – April 2020

I hope that as you read this you are safe and healthy. A lot has changed in the last few weeks. We have all come to realise that things which we had taken for granted are no longer the norm. All but a few of us no longer make our way to the office to see colleagues and clients, as we get used to working from home. News from around the world and at home is unsettling but vitally important. Throughout this crisis RTÉ has, and will continue to, serve the nation by keeping people informed, with high-quality journalism, and by providing relief, through entertaining programming. It brings me great pride to work in this organisation and to see that in unprecedented circumstances such as these, the nation turns in even greater numbers to RTÉ, and reinforces our existing position as a trusted media organisation.

From a commercial perspective, most of our staff are now working remotely while still maintaining the high-quality service you expect from us. We have continued to deliver continuity of service to all of our agencies and clients. For some of our staff this has essentially meant that they are on call 24/7. I'm proud that our team has risen to the challenge. While there is turmoil in the world, we know that it is important to react to our client's changing needs.

Our content teams have also reacted to the changing needs of our audience. The most obviously example of this is RTÉ's Home School Hub. RTÉ launched Home School Hub on Monday March 30th across television and online platforms with the aim to provide primary school children with fun daily lessons from the comfort of their homes. This is providing educational content to children and respite for parents who are under huge pressure at this time.

On RTÉ 2FM, we launched #nevergiveuponachild, a two week long digital live music event in support of children in Ireland with ISPCC/Childline. Artists to take part so far have included Hozier, Wild Youth and Kodaline. People can tune into live performances, through each artist's official live Instagram account, RTÉ 2FM's official live Instagram account and will also be broadcast live on 2FM every evening for thirty minutes and donate to support Childline and the ISPCC.

Our #CreateDontContaminate campaign continues to create some incredible engagement, in particular among younger audiences across Instagram and Tik Tok. In the first 10 days of the campaign, it had reached 25m social media users. It is essential that RTÉ, particularly through 2FM, play its part in keeping young people’s energy and spirits up by encouraging them, through inspiration from a range of influencers including 2FM presenters, to create content from their homes while keeping social distance and, thereby helping prevent the spread of coronavirus in the process, keeping their families and communities safe. 

In the coming weeks the effects of Covid-19 will continue to ripple through the schedules. Our soaps, sport and some other programming will be postponed. I'm confident, given what I've already seen in the past few weeks, that our content teams will work tirelessly to produce content that is important and relevant to our audience at this time to replace anything missing from the schedule with something that will captivate audiences. Content that will bring the nation together, to inform, entertain, educate and inspire them.

The production team of Operation Transformation are working on Operation Transformation: Stay Well Apart, a programme where Kathryn Thomas and her team of experts will be helping households deal with the realities of self-isolation. This is another example of a programme where RTÉ will be providing individuals and families with the tools to sustain our collective effort.

We'll have more updates on new programming in the coming days and weeks, and will keep you informed.

The past number of weeks have seen record-breaking audiences across all RTÉ’s platforms. The number of people watching the Taoiseach’s address on March 27th spoke to the unity of the Irish people at this time, with this address having an average audience of 829,200 people on TV* with 276,000 streams across RTÉ Player and RTÉ News Now.  Between Friday and Monday, there were a further 50,000 catch-up views online.

The advertising business is one that thrives on certainty and we are at a time of great uncertainty at present. We know that this will get worse before it gets better but it will get better. Myself and the team at RTÉ Media Sales are here to help in any way we can. At this time, when things are uncertain, I would like to assure you that we will get through this. We will get through this the same way we do everything - by doing it together.

Stay safe.

Geraldine O’Leary

*Source: TAM/Nielsen, L+V, Inds