RTÉ Player joins Sky’s mobile apps from today

On-demand viewing has soared, with RTÉ’s streams up 33 per cent in 2016


RTÉ’s on-demand service RTÉ Player will be available to viewers through Sky’s mobile apps from today as part of a deal between the two rival broadcasters.

Its programmes can now be accessed through the Sky Go and Sky Q apps on mobiles, tablets and laptops.

RTÉ Player was initially absent from Sky’s range of catch-up services when they launched in January 2014, but a partnership agreement with Sky, the biggest pay-TV company in Ireland, was signed last September after a series of negotiations.

This deal has already led to the addition of the RTÉ One +1, RTÉ One HD and RTÉ News Now channels to Sky’s set-top boxes, with the RTÉ Player becoming available via its set-top boxes in July.

RTÉ Player joins TV3’s 3Player and the UTV Player on Sky’s on-the-go services.

“The landscape is changing,” said Aisling McCabe, RTÉ’s director of strategic platforms and partnerships.

“On-the-go services are part of what television operators are offering now, and there is big demand for it. Our strategy is to be where our audience wants to be.”

Mobile and tablet devices currently account for 55 per cent of the traffic to the RTÉ Player. Mobile usage is a key source of growth, Ms McCabe said.

The decision to join Sky’s mobile apps is likely to further boost usage of the RTÉ Player, which has also just launched on smart television sets manufactured by LG.

Versions of the RTÉ Player are already on Samsung smart TVs and Microsoft’s Xbox platform, as well as the services of pay-TV platforms Virgin Media, Eir and Vodafone, while there have been more than 2.2 million downloads of the RTÉ Player app to date.

RTÉ Player, launched in 2009, has an average of 1.8 million unique users a month and 4.4 million streams per month. The number of streams so far in 2016 is up 33 per cent on the same period in 2015.

Ms McCabe said the popularity of Netflix had encouraged more viewers to get in the habit of watching television on-demand.

The trend is expected to put pressure on the original model of watching programmes as they are broadcast on “linear” channels.

This traditional method of consuming television still accounts for the bulk of viewing, but for younger viewers the habit is much less entrenched.