Bettel says cost of RTL contract to rise
Broadcaster RTL is set to receive more than €10 million a year from 2024 from the government for Luxembourgish-language programmes, media and communications minister Xavier Bettel told a parliamentary commission meeting on Tuesday.
While Bettel said that the final cost of the new contract "cannot yet be quantified", he added that it would "certainly have an upward trend" from the current three-year deal which pays RTL €10 million a year for providing programmes in Luxembourgish.
The new contract will run for seven years until 2030 and is expected to keep RTL Group in the Grand Duchy after most of its operations had been moved to Cologne in 2019. The company still employs 600 people at its Kirchberg headquarters.
The new deal will also cover radio services, Bettel said, meaning RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg will also receive taxpayer funding, along with public broadcaster 100.7 which benefits from an annual payment of €6.58 million from the government.
Lawmakers have to approve the funding, but the corresponding bill is yet to be drafted, according to parliament's website.
The current contract between RTL and the government, which has been withheld from the public, was made available to members of Luxembourg's parliament in February after a court order.
Bettel has waged several fights with lawmakers to keep secret agreements it has reached with broadcaster RTL, technology giant Google and others. The PM has said previously he worried that transparency may hurt the country's business appeal.
RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg increased its average daily viewership last year by 22% and its average prime-time audience topped 50% of all Luxembourgish viewers aged 15 and over who tuned in to evening programming, the company's latest annual report said. Combined with its radio and websites, RTL Luxembourg reached 82% of all Luxembourgers over the age of 15, according to their report.