All shows for the RTÉjr and RTÉ2 channels will be produced by independent companies from the end of 2017, the Irish pubcaster has confirmed.
RTÉ will no longer directly employ any children’s programming-making staff, but the move will not, however, effect the number of hours of kids TV programming the networks broadcast.
“Recognising the challenging financial environment, and so as to achieve stronger efficiencies and value for money, RTÉ is to make changes to how it produces young people’s programmes,” the pubcaster said in a statement.
“After an examination of all output, a decision has been made to commission all young people’s programmes from the independent sector, enabling RTÉ to meet its statutory committed spend in the sector and reducing operating costs internally.
“RTÉ is not reducing its commitment to younger peoples programmes, nor it’s spend.”
Earlier this week, RTÉ director general Dee Forbes told a government committee the public broadcaster was under “very serious financial strain”, but would continue to focus on making “high-quality” programmes and news.
RTÉ’s most popular kids programmes include The Den, Bosco and the TRTÉ strand, and also introduced wacky puppet duo Zig and Zag.
The move was met with dismay by many in the Irish kids TV business. 9 Story Media COO and Brown Bag Films co-founder Cathal Gaffney tweeting that “kids deserve better”, and claimed RTÉ had “always under invested” in children’s programming in favour of Saturday night “karaoke TV”.
RTÉ’s commercial rival, TV3, launched a 3Kids-branded strand for its children’s channel, 3e, earlier this year.