Sport accounted for eleven of the twenty most-watched programmes on television in Ireland last year. All of the programmes were broadcast on RTÉ.
The Late Late Toy Show was once again the highest-rating television programme of the year, with an average audience of 1.35m and a 70 percent share of the available audience.
Sport filled the next four places led by the All Ireland Football Final between Dublin and Mayo which drew an average audience of 1.41 million viewers and an even higher near 80 percent share of the audience at the time.
The ill-fated Euro qualifier play-off against Denmark; the All-Ireland Hurling final featuring Galway v Waterford; and the Wales v Ireland World Cup qualifier completed the top five.
RTÉ2’s coverage of Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations matches against France, Wales and England also occupied Top 10 spots. Perhaps surprisingly the game against France attracted an audience ten percent higher than that against England.
The official TAM Ireland/Nielsen figures for 2017 also show that TV viewing continues to dominate our leisure time with the average Irish adult watching 3 hours and 13 minutes of TV each day and 89 percent of that being watched live.
As well as sport, Irish audiences clearly love entertainment, with the first elimination on Dancing with the Stars drawing a huge audience, along with two episodes of Mrs Brown’s Boys, one of which was the Christmas special unveiling the new ‘Rory’.
The Late Late Show Country Music Special proved a big hit in April with 690,000 viewers and a 50 percent share. And RTÉ One’s Sunday night favourite, Dermot Bannon’s Room to Improve continued to be popular, ten seasons in, with the highest rating episode last year watched by 703,000 viewers.
During Storm Ophelia in October, Irish viewers turned to RTÉ News from the time the Status Red warning was given ahead of the Nine O’Clock News on Sunday 15 October making it the sixth most-watched programme of the year and most watched news bulletin of 2017 with 846,000 viewers.
“The figures released today by TAM Ireland show that TV is very much a part of our daily lives and that, despite competition from other channels in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere, RTÉ programming is most popular with Irish audiences,” said Adrian Lynch, Director of Channels, Marketing and Audiences.
“Bringing the nation together for big national events, from news to sport to entertainment, Irish audiences joined the national public service broadcaster in 2017 in huge numbers and we look forward to bringing viewers more quality Irish programming in 2018”.
There will be a challenge in sport with the NatWest 6 Nations having switched over to TV3 and the absence of Ireland from the World Cup though the size of that tournament alone should pick up some Top 20 placings this year and the changed format for the All Ireland Series in hurling and football is also likely to add more from the GAA.
Image Credit: Inpho
Data released by TAM Ireland/ Nielsen. Based on all channels available in Ireland.