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Media report: TV viewership declines as sun shines.

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Craig Farrell, Head of Media Planning

by Craig Farrell, Head of Media Planning


The good weather and easing of restrictions has continued the trend of declining TV viewership. Adults are now viewing an hour less of TV each day than in the first week of lockdown, and as a result viewership has dropped below pre-Covid levels. This has resulted in a decline in viewership of 14% year-on-year.

RTÉ has seen their share of viewing grow over the past 8 weeks with 2.5% points increase year-on-year. Sky’s decline in viewing is largely due to the absence of live sport this year, although with the return of the English Premier League this is expected to recover in the coming weeks.

Just as with broadcast TV, streaming viewership has begun to return to normal levels., however it is still showing 15% growth year-on-year. Viewership levels have been consistent throughout the dayparts and the peaks in VOD viewing mirror closely broadcast TV, suggesting streaming is replacing, rather than supplementing broadcast viewership.

The re-broadcast of Love/Hate on RTÉ has seen viewership levels of 268,000 for the first episode although this settled to 182,000 for episode 2 indicating a demand for content despite this show airing at 10.50 each Friday.

Print trends remain the same –weekday sales continue to struggle and are down by between 10-15%, while weekend sales remain steady year-on-year. Online subscriptions continue to be strong with the gaining 22k subscribers since launching its paywall in February.

June saw a further reduction of Coronavirus mentions across social media with on average 10,500 daily mentions, down from 15,500 per day in May.

The reopening of stores on June 12th saw a spike across spend and traffic which has had a positive impact on click through metrics –the highest peak since April.

BLM continues to be widely discussed with an average 2.8k mentions a day, after an initial peak of mentions with Blackout Tuesday and the Dublin protest.

Searches for Coronavirus continue to decline and have been replaced by searches for key events such as the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 5 or the restart of the English Premier League. ‘Near me’, ‘Penney’s’ and ‘hairdressers’ searches have also seen an increase in line with the Government’s announcement as people search whether their local businesses are open.

Spotify is predicting that, audio streaming will surpass radio listenership in the US this year as their audience has grown 31% year-on-year. One of the drivers of this trend is the increase in use of connected devices.

Cinema’s across Ireland will officially open on the 20th July, albeit with severely restricted capacity. In the meantime drive-in cinema’s have opened locally for example the drive-in cinema at the RDS in Dublin will be screening three films per day.

Phase 2 has seen an increase in driving journeys across Ireland with 33% more traffic than during Phase 1. Overall traffic levels are at 87% of their normal levels showing a greater normality of mobility.

The return of sport has stepped up a gear in recent weeks, with the return of the English Premier League & the release of the GAA’s Return to Play roadmap The GAA roadmap states club grounds will be permitted to open from June 29th and the club championships commencing from July 31st. The resumption of the English Premier League saw large audiences for the first 2 matches showing a great demand for the resumption of sport.

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