A producer has warned that Irish content will not continue to be made without reform of the TV licence fee.

Larry Bass is Chief Executive of ShinAwil, which has produced shows such as ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘The Voice of Ireland’.

The Government rejected a recommendation in July to abolish the licence fee from 2024 onwards.

Ministers instead agreed to overhaul how it is collected and establish a group to assess the system.

Bass told The Hard Shoulder something will have to change.

“I’ve been a big critic of the fact that this can keeps getting kicked down the road by successive governments,” he said.

“It has been proven, they sent out this question out to an independent body to look at, and they’ve come back and said ‘The system is broken, it needs repeal and it needs to be addressed’.

“If they continue to ignore addressing it you’re putting off the inevitable.

“The inevitable will be if there’s no money to make Irish content, we won’t be watching Irish content as Irish viewers.”

Independent sector more cost-effective

Bass said the making of shows should not be done in-house for broadcasters such as RTÉ.

“I firmly believe that there is higher value to programmes being made by the independent sector, and that’s just the nature broadcasting around the world.

“Broadcasters are increasingly shrinking, they’re looking to concentrate their resources on the broadcasting of the programming rather than the making of the programming.

“The making of the programming has certainly been more cost-effective in the independent sector globally – that’s a fact”.

He also believes having RTÉ at a prime location in Dublin “isn’t necessarily the best use of capital resource that it has in terms of the land and land value.”

“If you’re sitting on a resource that you’re not getting value out of, maybe you should look at: ‘Is there a better place to place that?’

“That’s a big, big question and I’m sure the people in RTÉ who are charged with running the organisation have thought about it and discussed it.

“I just think you need to look at all the areas if you have to make less go further,” he added.

Main image: RTE headquarters at Donnybrook in Dublin is seen in November 2019. Picture by: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo