‘Late Late Toy Show’ is shiny and bright for RTÉ

Advertisers paying €32,000 this year for a 30-second spot in its commercial breaks

Ryan Tubridy with Donegal’s Blue Ribbon Choir as they audition in the Radisson Hotel, Sligo, earlier this month for a spot  on RTÉ’s ‘Late Late Toy Show’. Photograph: James Connolly

Ryan Tubridy with Donegal’s Blue Ribbon Choir as they audition in the Radisson Hotel, Sligo, earlier this month for a spot on RTÉ’s ‘Late Late Toy Show’. Photograph: James Connolly

 

The Late Late Toy Show is still a whole month away, but RTÉ advertising revenue connected to the pre-Christmas extravaganza has already reached last year’s total, says RTÉ Television commercial director Geraldine O’Leary.

This year, RTÉ is selling ads for its live streaming of the show on the RTÉ Player for the first time, while the pre-show hype will include three half-hour programmes that feature “outstanding Toy Show memories and magic moments down through the years”.

RTÉ has been selling a premium package to advertisers for €57,500 that includes one 30-second spot in the Toy Show itself, one spot in the following Sunday’s repeat, one spot in each of these three specials and an ad in the online live streams for all five shows.

As usual, it costs advertisers extra to secure the most attractive positions in the commercial breaks (before or after viewers go off to make tea).

The spot price for a 30-second ad in the main show, scheduled for November 27th, the repeat and the live streams is €32,000 this year, up from €27,500 in 2014 (when there was no live-streaming included) and €25,000 the year before.

The higher prices this year are the result of “a combination of inflation and demand”, says O’Leary. “There is some availability left – less in the early breaks, more in the later breaks,” she adds.

Sold out

The show, which is worth a seven-digit sum to RTÉ, is officially closed to spot bookings on the Wednesday before it goes out, though it is “invariably” sold out before then.

The latecomers tend to be small companies who book ads directly rather than through an agency and decide at the last minute that the exposure is worth the price. The range of advertisers is “quite broad”, but as it’s Christmas, retail is “the real competitive category”, O’Leary says.

Ratings

Last year’s Toy Show was the most-watched programme on Irish television this century, with an average of 1.59 million viewers and a peak of 1.8 million. This is the consolidated ratings figure that includes viewing that took place within a week of broadcast.

The overnight average viewership was 1.36 million, which represented a 72 per cent share of the total television audience at the time. The popularity of the 2014 show, which memorably featured singer Ed Sheeran surprising young fan Aimee Keogh, was no blip: The six most-watched programmes since 2000 have been the toy shows of the last six years.

Little wonder that presenter Ryan Tubridy has predicted the show will once again be “big, big, big” this year. TV3’s copycat version also tends to do good business for Ballymount, pulling in 472,000 viewers last year, which was more than twice the average TV3 audience for the time slot.

If the Irish team had progressed further in the Rugby World Cup, it may have dethroned the Late Late Toy Show and RTÉ from its number one slot this year. But it now looks likely that the joy of Christmas will smother the competition once again.