Irish weather has long been blamed for putting people off holidaying at home, but forecast-watchers will soon be greeted with a message encouraging them to do just that.
Fáilte Ireland has agreed a deal to become the new sponsor of RTÉ Weather on television and online from January 2022, succeeding Avonmore in what is the largest broadcast sponsorship in the Irish market.
The State agency said the three-year deal would be used “to help accelerate the recovery of Ireland’s tourism sector” and promote its Keep Discovering campaign to encourage people to holiday at home and support the domestic tourism economy.
The price Fáilte Ireland paid for the sponsorship was not disclosed, but RTÉ Media Sales advertised the package as having an annual rate card value of €7.5 million earlier this year.
This is the first time in 15 years that the sponsorship has become available, with Glanbia signing up in 2006 and renewing its arrangement on several occasions to promote its consumer dairy brand Avonmore.
RTÉ’s weather bulletins after the Six-One and Nine O’Clock news programmes attract an average daily audience of 400,000 people, while the forecasts shown after the One O’Clock, Six-One and Nine O’Clock programmes have enjoyed an audience reach of 84 per cent in 2021.
This means that since January, the weather updates following RTÉ’s main television news programmes on RTÉ One and RTÉ One +1 have been seen at least once by more than 3.7 million people.
"With international travel not expected to return to pre-Covid levels until at least 2025, our investment in the sponsorship of RTÉ Weather will allow us to maximise the opportunity that domestic tourism offers as we focus on accelerating the recovery of our tourism industry," said Fáilte Ireland chief executive Paul Kelly.
Fáilte Ireland research shows that Irish people take long and short breaks at home all year round, rather than predominantly in the summer season. In 2019, domestic tourism generated €2.5 billion for the Irish economy and represented a third of all tourism revenue.
“Due to the enormous weekly viewership of RTÉ Weather, we expect our strategic sponsorship to significantly help boost domestic tourism year-round and drive revenue for businesses, while sustaining and creating thousands of jobs in a sector that has been devastated by Covid-19,” said Mr Kelly.
The tourism agency's director of marketing Niall Tracey added that it would provide "a powerful platform to constantly promote motivating reasons to travel to specific destinations, counties and events at specific times of the year".
RTÉ commercial director Geraldine O’Leary said RTÉ was “thrilled” by the deal and that Fáilte Ireland had worked closely with the State-owned public service broadcaster to ensure that the sponsorship would resonate with its audience.
The deal was secured on behalf of the domestic tourism agency by media buyer Mindshare, part of GroupM, the media investment management arm of advertising giant WPP.
The package includes 110 sponsorship stings per week on RTÉ television, meaning there will be 10 seconds of Fáilte Ireland messaging at the top and tail of each weather bulletin, including those shown on the RTÉ News channel.
All bulletins on the RTÉ Player and RTÉ.ie/weather will also feature 10-second stings, while there will be “takeover” display advertising on the RTÉ News Now app, audio stings on the RTÉ Climate and Weather podcast and a monthly print ad placement in the RTÉ Guide.