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Patrick Kielty on last year's Late Late Toy Show. RTÉ

Late Late Toy Show and Rugby World Cup coverage most watched broadcasts last year

Kin, Dancing with the Stars and I’m a Celebrity featured in the top 50 most watched programmes.

MORE THAN 1.5 million people tuned in to watch Patrick Kielty present his first Late Late Toy Show last year, making it the most-watched programme on Irish screens in 2023.

A total of 1,575,800 people watched the RTÉ festive favourite in November last year, according to figures released by Television Audience Measurement Ireland (TAM Ireland) and research company Nielsen.

This is up from an audience of 1,532,000 who watched Ryan Tubridy’s last Late Late Toy Show in 2022.

Kielty’s debut as the host of The Late Late Show also made the top ten most-watched programmes last year, coming in ninth place with an audience of 833,100.

But it was live sport that dominated the top ten list, particularly rugby.

Ireland’s defeat to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup quarter final on 14 October was in second place, with 1,384,100 viewers on Virgin Media One.

The Ireland team’s 13-8 win against South Africa came in third place with 1,254,000 tuning in on RTÉ2, while their match against Scotland claimed the fourth spot with an audience of 1,200,500 on Virgin Media One.

The Six Nations also features in the top ten, with Ireland’s victory over England in the tournament garnering 1,019,800 viewers on Virgin Media One, making it the fifth most-watched programme last year.

GAA also made the top ten, with the All-Ireland Football final between Dublin and Kerry coming sixth with 977,100 viewers, and the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship final between Kilkenny and Limerick in eighth with an audience of 838,700.

Coverage of the Women’s World Cup made the top 50, with 551,300 people tuning in to RTÉ2 to cheer on the girls in green in their game against Canada on 26 July. The match was the 25th most viewed programme. 

Overall, sport claimed over 60% of the top 50 programmes last year. 

RTÉ News: Nine O’Clock on 23 November 2023 was the most-watched news programme of the year, when its coverage of the riots in Dublin saw 791,800 tune in. 

RTÉ’s Six One news programme the following day came in 18th place with an audience of 604,500 viewers, while Prime Time’s broadcast on the night of the riot was in 29th place with 526,500. 

In total, 42 of the top 50 most popular programmes were broadcast on RTÉ.

RTÉ Deputy Director of Content, Niamh O’Connor, said the list “proves that Irish audiences continue to favour Irish content above all else”.

“Serving Irish audiences with a distinctive mix of quality Irish content is why RTÉ exists and we are committed to working, together with our colleagues in the Irish independent production sector, to continue to serve the public with unique Irish content that educates, entertains and informs,” she said.

According to TAM Ireland and Nielsen, the average Irish adult watches broadcaster TV on a TV set for 2 hours 32 minutes per day, with 84% of this daily viewing consumed live and 16% viewed as catch-up.

The top ten most-watched broadcasts of 2023 were:

  • The Late Late Toy Show, 1,575,800
  • Rugby World Cup Live Ireland v New Zealand, 1,384,100
  • Rugby World Cup 2023 – South Africa v Ireland, 1,254,000
  • Rugby World Cup Live Ireland v Scotland, 1,200,500
  • 6 Nations Live Ireland v England, 1,019,800
  • The Sunday Game Live – Dublin v Kerry, 977,100
  • Rugby World Cup 2023 – Ireland v Tonga, 972,600
  • The Sunday Game Live – Kilkenny v Limerick, 838,700
  • The Late Late Show, 833,100
  • Guinness Six Nations – Scotland v Ireland, 823,400

Other programmes that featured in the top 50 list include Kin, Room to Improve, Mrs Brown’s Boys: Mammy’s Mare, Dancing with the Stars, I’m a Celebrity, The Rose of Tralee, Ireland’s Fittest Family, The Tommy Tiernan Show and Fair City.

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