Television

Television remains the most used source of news in Ireland but only 62% of Irish respondents identified it as such compared with the European average of 75%. However, younger people barley watch any TV, instead stream content

Estimating the total number of broadcast channels available in Ireland has become increasingly complicated as audiences were offered an increasing number of distribution technologies such as Digital terrestrial television (DTT), satellite, cable and Internet protocol TV (IPTV). That said there are seven “Ireland-facing” television channels, and a further 46 overseas-based channels which sell advertising space into the Irish market. Beyond this, even the “basic” packages offered by audiovisual distribution market leaders Sky Digital and Virgin Media may offer several hundred additional channels buried in the deeper reaches of their electronic programme guides.

The state-owned PSM, RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is also the largest player in the Irish television market. The station’s three linear channels (RTE 1, RTE 2 and RTE jr) cumulatively command a 26.75% audience share as of 2022. A second, separate state-owned PSM, TG4, mainly broadcasts in the Irish language, but is much less popular (2% audience share). The third public service broadcaster is Oireachtas TV, offering live streams of the two chambers of the Irish Parliament or Oireachtas (Dáil and Seanad) as well as their Committees. While the overall viewership is very low, it peaks during hearings that capture public attention - like the summer 2023 controversy surrounding undisclosed payments to RTÉ highest profile presenter.

The other major player in the Irish market is Virgin Media Television which is ultimately owned by Liberty Global, the US-based cable giant. Liberty Global also owns Virgin Media Ireland which enjoys a dominant position in the Irish cable market. Virgin’s four channels are more or less exclusively commercially-funded. The Virgin group grew out of the TV3 group, the first national commercial station, which initially went on air in 1998. Virgin Media acquired TV3 and UTV Ireland in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The cumulative audience share of the group was 18.79 % in 2022.

In addition Sky Television's suite of 15 channels have a market share of approximately 6%.The station was previously owned by News Corporation but was acquired by Comcast in 2018. Sky Digital, which effectively monopolises the satellite television distribution market in Ireland is also owned by Comcast.

The two main BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) television stations also account for 6% of the Irish audience but this is augmented by the cumulative 3-4% audience share held by channels owned by the BBC subsidiary UKTV.

  • Project by
    FuJo Logo
  •  
    Global Media Registry
  • In cooperation with
    EUROMO
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    Co-funded by European Union