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From lockdowns to working from home and remote learning, 2020 was a challenging time for everyone. Throughout, people across Ireland increasingly turned to television to stay informed, educated and entertained and RTÉ was the nation’s top choice across all genres with 43 of the top 50 programmes aired on Irish television in 2020.  RTÉ’s all day share of viewing increased by 7% to 27.2% for all channels. 15-34’s share increase by 12%.  

RTÉ: Capturing the highs and lows In a year when we were asked to stay at home as much as possible, RTÉ brought people together. The most-watched show of the year was The Late Late Toy Show, which once again topped TAM Ireland’s ratings with an average of 1.7million viewers tuning in for an unforgettable and uniquely Irish evening of joy for people of all ages.  The second most-watched programme in 2020 was the then An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s broadcast on St. Patricks Day, with 1.6million viewers.
RTÉ: Delivering extensive news and current affairs  News and Current Affairs featured strongly in the most-watched programmes including both RTÉ Six: One and the RTÉ Nine O’Clock News, as well as Prime TimeClaire Byrne Live, RTÉ Investigates and Election 2020 all feature in the Top 20. Sport continued to entertain us albeit from our armchairs rather than the stands; the All-Ireland Senior Hurling and Football Finals on RTÉ drew huge audiences and ranked in the Top 10 most-watched programmes this year.    

RTÉ: Leading in home-grown programming Families turned to home-grown programming in 2020. The most-watched shows included Room to Improve; the Dermot’s Home episode which was watched by 776,600 people. Also featuring in the top 50 most-watched shows of the year were DIY SOS and The Great House Revival, while the documentary Gerry Ryan, A Legacy was watched by 568,200 last April. Dancing with the Stars, Operation Transformation and The Young Offenders, all feature in the Top 50 most-watched programmes of 2020. 
RTÉ: Bringing the nation together  Shine Your Light was a series of national moments of togetherness organised by RTÉ, with millions of people across the country participating by shining a light in their windows, at their doorsteps or within their communities to mark important milestones for the nation. The most recent one took place in December on the eve of the 2020 solstice where  once again RTÉ brought the nation together for a moment of hope in a year of sadness and isolation for so many.  

RTÉ: Focusing on younger audiences  RTÉ Home School Hub was the second most-popular programme amongst children – after The Late Late Toy Show. For young adults (15-34), RTÉ had 8 of the Top 10 programmes with RTÉ News and Current Affairs and RTÉ Sport featured strongly in their viewing preferences. The top show amongst this audience was The Late Late Toy Show, proving that you’re never too young or too old relive your childhood.  
Viewing to TV on the increase Official TAM Ireland / Nielsen figures for 2020 show that television occupied much of our leisure time, with the average person in a TV home watching 2 hours 40 mins of TV every day, an increase of 1% on 2019. 
Normal People: the number one on RTÉ Player  
RTÉ Player proved popular this year, with viewing up by 36% in 2020. Normal People topped the polls with 818,000 streams for the top episode out of a total of 5 million streams to the programme series. Unsurprisingly, The Late Late Toy Show was the second most-watched show on RTÉ Player with 575,000 streams. High-quality drama proved popular, with The Secret She Keeps (122,000 streams) and Love / Hate (109,000 streams) performing strongly, along with The Young Offenders (147,000 streams), The Late Late Toy Show Singalong (114,000 streams), and The Tommy Tiernan Show (65,000 streams).      

Adrian Lynch, Director of RTÉ Audiences, Channels and Marketing says: “Looking at the Top 50 programmes, it’s clear that Irish stories and content are the programmes that bring people together proving that live programmes, big events and home-produced content are hugely popular. 2020 was the year that pushed us to our limits as a nation, when we had to stay apart in order to pull together. But throughout this exceptionally difficult year, RTÉ provided variety across all channels as Ireland’s public service media, informing, entertaining and educating audiences of all ages and uniting the nation in those key moments – both the highs and the lows – that will stay with us for a long time.”  Images here:   

For further information: 
Date: Monday 11th January 2021 Maureen Catterson, Communications Manager, TV, Radio and Online 087 780 0737  

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