RTÉ Player live streams surged 74% in 2016

‘Fair City’ most-watched show on digital service, while overall streams increase 26%

A 74 per cent surge in live streaming helped boost traffic to RTÉ’s digital services in 2016.

Live streaming on the RTÉ Player – the online viewing of programmes at the same time as they are being broadcast on television – accounted for a fifth of all streams in a year of major sporting events.

The Euro 2016 tournament generated two million streams on the RTÉ Player and some 1.5 million of these were live.

The video-on-demand service, originally designed as a way to catch up on missed television programmes, served up more than 50 million streams in total to its users in 2016, up 26 per cent on the previous year.

An average of 4.2 million streams per month were delivered to an average of 1.7 million unique browsers, RTÉ said.

During 2016, RTÉ commissioned more Player-only content in areas such as food and entertainment, and these attracted more than three million streams altogether, the broadcaster said.

But the most popular shows on the service remain the soap operas, with Fair City topping the list in 2016 with 5.8 million streams. This was followed by Home and Away with 5.4 million streams and EastEnders with 4.7 million.

The general election was the top news story on RTÉ’s digital services last year, with RTÉ.ie and the RTÉ News Now app recording 31 million page views and 1.9 million unique browsers on the weekend of the count.

The Rio Olympics brought in 15.4 million page views and 2.1 million unique browsers to RTÉ’s desktop and mobile services. Boxer Michael Conlan’s defeat attracted one of the highest surges in daily traffic, generating 7.6 million page views.

Mobile traffic

RTÉ chief digital officer Múirne Laffan said the trend confirmed the increasingly important role of online services for how RTÉ’s content is consumed.

“To keep pace with expectations, RTÉ.ie has undergone a significant redesign and its transformation will continue in 2017,” Ms Laffan said.

The balance of traffic has now shifted in favour of mobile. RTÉ.ie generated an average of 54 million page views and 5.6 million unique browsers per month in 2016, but the RTÉ News Now app had a monthly average of 68 million page views, up 26 per cent year-on-year, from its average of 426,000 monthly unique users.

The figures suggest that people who download an app tend to be more loyal consumers of media.

A quarter of the traffic to RTÉ.ie in 2016 came from overseas, compared to 16 per cent for the News Now app. The international version of the RTÉ Player attracted 426,000 streams per month, up 28 per cent.

Also yesterday, an Oireachtas committee has opened a new consultation process on the future of public service broadcasting in Ireland, inviting views on subjects such as the role of independent production companies and the funding of Irish language programming.

The Joint Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, chaired by Fine Gael TD Hildegarde Naughton, is seeking submissions from interested parties before a deadline of February 2nd.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics

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