TV licence renewals dropped 25% in first week of July

TV licence fee renewals dropped 25% in the first week of July.

It marks a significant fall off in licence fee revenue in the wake of three weeks of controversy at RTÉ.

Figures released to Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin show a 25% drop in licence fee renewals for the first week in July as the controversy around payments to Ryan Tubridy emerged.

3,428 fewer households renewed their licence fee when compared with the same time last year.

There was also a significant fall off in new licence fee sales, which were down almost 40% on the previous year.

June saw a more modest decline in total licence fee sales of a little over 2%, with much of the drama playing out in July.

The figures mean a combined fall in licence fee revenue through June and the first week of July of almost €934,000.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has urged people to continue to pay their licence fee pointing out it supports independent productions as well as RTÉ.

However, Ministers fear the decrease in revenue seen in the first week of July will be replicated through the rest of the month.

RTÉ has previously estimates it loses €65 million a year to licence fee evasion, which had stood at 15% prior to the recent controversy.