2015: Irish TV a year in Review

Irish TV broadcasters are experiencing one of their worst years ever. Even the arrival of UTV Ireland and the biggest sporting events of 2015 failed to boost audiences. The highest audience share for all Irish TV channels was 48.26% and by November all of the broadcasters had lost 3% of their total audience with the biggest loss of viewers by TV3. The lowest audience share was in July with just 42.4% of viewers watching Irish TV channels. We take a look at the problems faced by each of the channels over the last 11 months and what they can expect for December 2015.

 

Channel Nov Oct Sep Aug Jul Jun May Apr Mar Feb 2015 2014
RTÉ ONE 19.04% 17.83% 16.63% 15.71% 15.55% 16.39% 17.60% 17.78% 19.00% 19.00% 17.45% 20.00%
RTÉ ONE +1* 0.54% 0.50% 0.59% 0.55% 0.66% 0.66% 0.70% 0.63% 0.50% 0.60% 0.59% 0.50%
RTÉjr* 0.70% 0.70% 0.71% 0.91% 0.66% 0.66% 0.70% 0.63% 0.60% 0.60% 0.69% 0.50%
RTÉ2 5.46% 5.60% 7.45% 7.34% 7.68% 7.72% 6.28% 4.93% 8.00% 7.00% 6.75% 7.00%
RTÉ Total** 25.74% 24.63% 25.38% 24.51% 24.55% 25.43% 25.28% 23.97% 28.10% 27.20% 25.50% 28.00%
TV3 7.93% 13.01% 11.07% 6.70% 6.32% 7.04% 8.20% 7.38% 7.00% 7.00% 8.17% 11.00%
TV3 +1 0.37% 0.29% 0.31% 0.33% 0.30% 0.34% 0.37% 0.31% 0.20% 0.20% 0.31% N/A
3e 2.80% 2.70% 3.05% 2.67% 3.05% 2.85% 2.71% 2.56% 3.00% 3.00% 2.83% 3.00%
TV3 Total 11.10% 16.00% 14.43% 9.70% 9.67% 10.23% 11.28% 10.25% 10.20% 10.20% 11.32% 14.00%
TG4 1.50% 1.25% 1.55% 1.89% 1.36% 1.41% 1.57% 2.08% 2.00% 2.00% 1.64% 2.00%
Setanta 0.44% 0.25% 0.30% 0.27% 0.45% 0.43% 0.26% 0.37% 0.30% 0.30% 0.35% 0.30%
UTV 0.89% 0.88% 0.81% 0.52% 0.63% 0.65% 0.70% 0.71% 0.70% 0.70% 0.74% 3.00%
UTV Ireland 7.36% 5.25% 5.89% 5.70% 5.74% 6.09% 5.48% 5.83% 6.00% 6.00% 6.08% N/A
UTV Total 8.25% 6.13% 6.70% 6.22% 6.37% 6.74% 6.18% 6.54% 6.70% 6.70% 6.82% 3.00%
Irish TV Total 47.03% 48.26% 48.36% 42.59% 42.40% 44.24% 44.57% 43.21% 47.30% 46.40% 45.65% 47.30%
Other 52.97% 51.74% 51.64% 57.41% 57.60% 55.76% 55.43% 56.79% 52.70% 53.60% 54.35% 52.70%

 

RTÉ ONE

RTÉ ONE relies heavily on News and Current Affairs and on their stalwart shows of Fair City, The Late Late Show and The Voice of Ireland. Event shows such as the Eurovision Song Contest and The Rose of Tralee continue to bring in viewers, while many bemoan their old-fashioned-ness. This year saw drops for most of these programmes. Fair City averages 350,000 adults, while The Late Late Show generally holds 500,000 viewers, The Toy Show boosting its audience significantly. RTÉ ONE worst month was in July with just 15.55% of the audience watching the channel, its best month was in November with the arrival of The Toy Show (over 1.3million viewers). RTÉ ONE however has significantly lost viewers due to its too often repeated shows and lack of Drama. Love/Hate didn’t return for the channel and it left a major hole in the schedule. RTÉ ONE should allow for quality US and British Drama on the premier channel over never ending repeats.


December: With the return of Mrs. Brown’s Boys and the usual Christmas Fair RTÉ ONE should see a slight rise in audiences.
2016: The only drama proposed for 2016 is Rebellion, RTÉ ONE will need to expand its Drama output over the year, but if only one other Drama appears RTÉ ONE will be in trouble, particularly if it isn’t Love/Hate.

RTÉ2

RTÉ2 is waiting. It’s waiting for sport. When it has sport it boosts its audience significantly but even RTÉ2’s sports output doesn’t quite hold viewers as it used to. Its highest audience was in March for the Six Nations with an 8% share of the audience, this compares to their worst month in April with just under 5% watching the channel. This is bad news for channel considering the loss of those rights to TV3 in 2018. This waiting for the next big show has caused RTE2 to provide little of substance. It is awash with Reality Bites type documentaries, which have failed to gain significant audiences. While, the decision to air repeats on the channel from 5:30 until 8pm seems daft, does a stripped schedule of Friends really define Public Service Broadcasting.


December: RTÉ2 has little for the Christmas period but often finds itself gaining audiences at Christmas.
2016: It’s likely we will see much of the same in 2016, lots of prime time repeats and lots of first runs after mid-night, though the wait is on for Euros 2016. Come on Ireland.

TV3

TV3’s year has been excellent! Right? The newspapers say so it must be true, right? Well TV3 have done as expected throughout the year. Their audience fell for most of the year with the loss of Coronation Street and Emmerdale to UTV Ireland. So far TV3 has averaged 8.17% of the audience. Boosted in May by ITV show Britain’s Got Talent and of course in September and October with The Rugby World Cup. TV3’s highest share for the year was 13.01% of the audience in October when it received some of its highest audience ever with the Rugby World Cup. Its lowest audience was in July with 6.32%, while they fell back in November getting just under 8% of the audience. This isn’t help by TV3’s decision to air daytime TV during Prime Time hours with The Seven O’Clock Show failing to gain an audience, with just 45,000 viewers on average. Vincent Browne remains popular with 100,000 viewers on average each night, while Red Rock has suffered due to bad schedules on the Channel.


December: December is interesting, already finished with XFactor TV3 usually sees a decline in December. Last year during the Christmas period TV3 dropped to 9% from an average of 11% for the rest of 2014, but that was up significantly from its drop to 7% at Christmas 2013. This kind of drop could see TV3 down at 5% during the Christmas period.
2016: Starts with Big Brother and then like RTÉ2 waits this time for Britain’s Got Talent and more waiting until X-Factor. It, like RTÉ2, has retained UFEA Champions League, but so far little in terms of content change for the channel, without the Rugby World Cup the wait is on until 6 Nations 2018.

UTV Ireland

Next to UTV Ireland. So unlike TV3 UTV Ireland has done terribly, right? Well if you read the newspapers you would assume so. UTV Ireland has presented itself badly. It inability to simulcast big ITV Dramas hasn’t help the channel. Like TV3 and RTÉ it has waited and waited for its big show. For UTV Ireland that was I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, which moved from 3e. Unfortunately, like its ITV Dramas it failed to simulcast I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, NOW! As ITV2. In an attempt to boost its News programme, later UTV Ireland changed its mind, but for this UTV forsook its audience. UTV Ireland’s best month was in November getting 7.36% of the audience just missing out on that coveted second spot, which it would have got it only for its mistake to drop the extra I’m a Celeb programme. So again the wait is on for UTV Ireland. It will undoubtedly continue with its Daytime and Weekend Schedules and this will naturally garner some extra audience but unless UTV have strong shows in Prime Time it will fail to reach over 7% until the next series of I’m a Celeb in November 2016.


December: Well, it’s a similar situation for UTV Ireland as TV3. In reality UTV Ireland has split TV3 and UTV’s old audience share meaning UTV Ireland could go below 5% in December, though it will be held up due to the final of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
2016: It will be interesting to see what the new owners do to the channel. ITV have notoriously cut local programming with the rest of their local and National channels in the UK. With no sport planned UTV Ireland (or ITV Ireland) has an uphill battle.

3e and TG4

3e will need an overhaul if it wants to retain its 2.5% audience share or if it wants to grow this audience. 3e has been TV3’s saviour. It is cheap to produce and broadcast, and even cheaper if TV3, TG4 and UTV Ireland went to broadcast in HD on Saorview, but that’s another argument for another time.

TG4 is the most imaginative channel, it suffers due to language but also due to the terrible TV coming from other Irish broadcasters. Its audience share for 2015 so far has been between 1.2% and 2%. If we really want Irish to survive Irish language media needs to merge, RTÉ’s control of RnaG should end.

Audience Figures and Broadcasters

Audience Figures are secretive. TAM Ireland is less than giving in its nature. According to its CEO to get back dated data you must be a subscriber to the service. Like the JNLR most statistics are provided by the Broadcaster rather than the independent organization set up to collate these statistics. Journalist seem unaware that getting second hand information from broadcasters doesn’t tell the full story. This data will only ever be presented to journalists from that Broadcasters point of view. TAM Ireland and JNLR should provide a much better system to provide figures to the public, on whom they rely for their figures.


Good examples of this include: -

2FM’s press release for their JNLR figure, which caused other Broadcasters to complain rather than journalist to investigate such claims.

Table below shows how UTV Ireland failed to capitalize on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Here and its spin off show, with just 74,500 viewers for their 10pm News compared to 364,200 for the main reality show. A massive drop, not seen in UTV Ireland’s press release or other publications.

Monday Night

Time Programme '000
17:30 IRELAND LIVE 21.1
17:55 UTV IRELAND WEATHER 21.2
18:01 THE CHASE 70.4
19:00 EMMERDALE 328.9
19:32 CORONATION STREET 417.0
20:03 DANIEL AND MAJELLA'S B&B ROAD TRIP 230.0
20:31 CORONATION STREET 408.5
21:01 I'M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE! 385.0
22:05 IRELAND LIVE AT 10 60.8
22:58 UTV IRELAND WEATHER 42.2
23:01 I'M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW 23.1

Tuesday Night

Time Programme '000
17:30 IRELAND LIVE 21.1
17:55 UTV IRELAND WEATHER 21.2
18:01 THE CHASE 70.4
19:00 EMMERDALE 328.9
19:32 CORONATION STREET 417.0
20:03 DANIEL AND MAJELLA'S B&B ROAD TRIP 230.0
20:31 CORONATION STREET 408.5
21:01 I'M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE! 385.0
22:05 IRELAND LIVE AT 10 60.8
22:58 UTV IRELAND WEATHER 42.2
23:01 I'M A CELEBRITY GET ME OUT OF HERE NOW 23.1

TV3 announced big gains in its Christmas Audience in 2014, however it failed to mention that it had just 7% of the audience at Christmas 2013. TV3 announces big gains for the Rugby World Cup but fails to announce large loses following the tournament.

RTÉ provide details of their audience for top individual sports programmes failing to show low audiences for episodes of Friends and Reality Bites on RTÉ2.