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Lots of people are watching UTV Ireland's big soaps. But not much else...

But the new station has taken a chunk out of TV3′s audience.

A scene from UK soap Coronation Street
A scene from UK soap Coronation Street
Image: YouTube

UTV IRELAND’S TWO major UK soaps have been delivering a big audience for the fledgling station – but viewers are mostly turning off after the shows’ credits roll.

In its first month on air, the station was the nation’s third most-watched channel with 5.5% of the audience share for January.

That compares to 20.7% for RTÉ One and 8% for UTV Ireland’s main rival, TV3, according to figures from TAM Ireland and Nielsen.

But the station’s share during peak times – covering the main evening period – was 7.2%, ahead of TV3′s 7% viewership.

Most of that performance was thanks to the strength of its big UK soaps, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, which it took over from TV3.

The most-popular episode of Coronation Street hit 597,000 viewers with 36.7% of the total audience, while the highest-rating Emmerdale scored 422,000 pair of eyes for a 27.8% share.

Corrie Source: Tumblr

And then there’s the rest…

But outside those soapie drawcards the public have been switching off in droves with the next-best ratings coming for the rural-minded Rare Breed: A Farming Year.

That scored a peak figure of 190,000 viewers, or 12% of the audience share.

None of the channel’s news programmes made it into the top-10 most-watched shows, which look like this:

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UTV Source: UTV Ireland

Its evening bulletin, Ireland Live, took less than 2.4% of the audience last week while the late broadcast, Ireland Live at 10, recorded a 3.4% share.

UTV managing director Michael Wilson said he was expecting the channel’s news audience to take “year, not days” to develop.

We think those figures are absolutely amazing for a launch station and while there’s plenty to do … if you look at the overall picture, the audience is turning in to us and likes us,” he said.

Wilson defended the station’s heavy reliance on UK shows to deliver its ratings and its lack of local content to compete with TV’3 Red Rock or RTÉ’s dramas.

“We are talking to drama producers … but drama’s expensive,” he said.

READ: You’ll be able to watch ‘Good Morning Britain’ on UTV Ireland from next week >

READ: Claire Byrne on sexism, competition from UTV and being ‘as stubborn as an ass’ >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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