Why can’t I see the Bertie Ahern series?

Mick’s post involving access to RTE’s Questions and Answers reminds me how I disappointed I was after settling down to watch the first on the three parter doc series on Bertie. To be greeted by the caption after the ad:

We’re sorry but this programme is only available to play in the Republic of Ireland.”

News and Current Affairs yes, but a big doc series of wide interest, no, it seems. When I responded to RTE’s invitation to go their info site for an explanation, I got a “not found” then ” temporarily unavailable”. I know that complex and expensive rights costs and broadband width issues are involved as is fairness to licence fee payers. But at a time when the BBC not only run the hugely successful iPlayer and are about to stream BBC 1 and BBC 2 on the web, which makes it harder and harder to trace licence fee defaulters, it would be great if RTE caught up a bit.

  • Leo


    you obviously haven’t tried accessing streamed BBC material from the Republic then – almost all of it is blocked as being “unavailable in your territory”

  • Actually the message that came up when I tried it says “We are sorry but this programme is only available to play in Ireland” … and as far as I’m aware, most of RTE’s programmes should be available across the entire island.

    Problem comes that the IP address ranges handed out by ISP (Internet Service Providers) to their customers change and sometimes expand over time. If they don’t match up with the “white list” help RTE, then you’ll be seen as coming from somewhere off-island and blocked.

    RTE definitely have a problem at the moment recognising NI customers from one large UK SP – though they’re working on it.

    The RTE FAQ http://www.rte.ie/info/avfaq.html suggests you getting in touch with your SP so that they can update RTE with the correct ranges.

  • smcgiff

    +1 Leo

  • You do know that the video portion of iPlayer doesn’t work at all outside the UK, right?

  • George

    You can’t even listen to BBC Radio 5 Live on the web from Ireland (Republic of) never mind watch anything.

  • Ulick

    The GAA boys have had this issue for a while. If you get an email from your ISP confirming that you live in Ireland and forward it to RTE, they’ll unblock access for you.

  • Joe

    I had this in reverse during the summer – I’m in London, but I couldn’t listen to Good Morning Ulster over the web while the Olympics was on, presumably because of the IOC and their nonsense.

  • Greenflag

    Surely if a Chinese person wanted to watch the World Table Tennis Championship while working in Kuala Lumpur or a German wanted to watch the World in Germany while he’s temporarily overseas or ditto for the Irish/British thing this should be possible ? Why can’t Governments world wide provide service for their nationals overseas ? There are some 300 million people living and working in States other than the one they were born in . Why can’t the BBC/RTE charge overseas viewers a nominal annual ‘license ‘ fee of say 40 Euro and thus broing in some revenue for sports afficionados worldwide .

    We can watch BBC TV in the Republic why should’nt we be able to listen to Radio 5 or 3 etc on the web and vice versa for people in Britain who want to tune in to Radio Eireann ?

    Who exactly is making money out of depriving people of what should be a main benefit of this new communications age ?

  • Brian Walker

    Thanks for the info – I didn’t know that the BBC was similarly bound by frontiers. Makes you realise that providers can restrict their output if they want to – contrary to all those statements about an uncontrollable internet. Let’s look forward to an open skies web.

  • @Brian – if you create the content in-house, then a broadcaster can choose to give up overseas licensing deals and make stuff available for free.

    But if you’re an indie producing something, you’d want to maximise your potential profit. After all, $ makes the world go round.

    If you’re selling content to another region … that’s right, you want to be able to repeat the trick, so it’s got to be geographically constrained.

    Oh, and the wider the region, the more you pay to license music, so make a programme available to the world, and your programme costs go up. (The reason that some iconic music is replaced in UK shows when sold overseas – go for something similar but less recognisable and a lot less expensive.)

    Open skies = need to find other revenue streams, or stop eating.

    Here endeth the lesson.

  • Kevin Fitz

    They won’t even show previously aired entertainment programs such as The Panel! I don’t see the reason for that when are Maxwell, Murphy et al ever going to be on screen here on the states or anywhere else?

    Very disappointing decision by RTE who obviously dont care about ex-pats!

    BTW Ive tried some Irish based proxies but RTE’s media players do not work thru a proxy!

  • fionn

    I finally discovered a way of watching GAA in China. Check out


    Lots of sports, and more besides .. yippie!

    (submit code “interest”, Slugger you did it again!!)

  • fionn

    dammit .. messed up the link …


    and the submit code this time …. “problem”