TV3 Group toasts record audience share in May

‘Coronation Street’ and Europa League final among most-watched shows on channel

Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis and Zac Efron on the BBC’s ‘The Graham Norton Show’, which is distributed by ITV Studios to TV3, where it airs on Saturday nights.

Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis and Zac Efron on the BBC’s ‘The Graham Norton Show’, which is distributed by ITV Studios to TV3, where it airs on Saturday nights.


TV3 Group won a 17.9 per cent share of television viewing in Ireland in May, the highest monthly share in its history.

TV3, the main channel in the group, won a 12.2 per cent share last month among adults aged 15-plus, according to figures from research firm Nielsen and ratings body TAM Ireland.

This was the channel’s highest share this year and was up 40 per cent on May 2016. The year-on-year increase is largely the result of the return of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and The Graham Norton Show to the channel.

The group’s second channel, 3e, accounted for a 2.8 per cent share of viewing, while the newest addition to the stable, Be3, recorded a 2.5 per cent share. A small portion of the total was delivered by TV3+1.

TV3 Group, which is owned by Virgin Media Ireland, also said it recorded a higher total share than RTÉ’s channels on two days of the month. Among the 15-44-year-old age group, it outperformed RTÉ on ten days in the period.

It added that the momentum had continued into the early days of June, with the group reaching a 19.3 per cent share in the week ending June 4th.

Coronation Street was the most-watched programme on TV3 last month, attracting an average of 397,000 viewers on its second episode on Friday, May 5th.

It was followed by Emmerdale with 319,000 viewers, while Britain’s Got Talent narrowly beat the Europa League final between Manchester United and Ajax into fourth place, with both winning almost 293,000 viewers.

The Uefa Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid was fifth with 238,000 viewers. (RTÉ2 had the rights to the final.)

All ratings are for the audience that tuned in live or watched the programmes back on the same day as they were broadcast.

Red Rock, The Graham Norton Show, documentary The Gardaí: Policing Paddy’s, the FA Cup final and ITV drama Little Boy Blue completed the top 10 for TV3, with its 5.30pm news bulletin in eleventh place. TV3 said eight of the top 15 shows in May were home-produced.

“We’re only five months into our new three-channel strategy, so it’s a tremendous result to see such significant growth and momentum,” said TV3 Group director of programming Bill Malone, who is the former controller of RTÉ2.

TV3’s autumn launch of new season programming will be the biggest in its history, he added. Parent company Virgin is investing in original drama, with commissions for 2018 including six-part crime drama Darklands.

The group’s Be3 channel was previously known as UTV Ireland and was last year acquired by TV3 Group from temporary owners ITV for €10 million.

The deal included rights to programming distributed by ITV Studios that had be held by UTV Ireland during its short life.

As soon as the acquisition was cleared by competition regulators, TV3 Group moved the British soap operas and other imports such as The Graham Norton Show – which is made for the BBC, but distributed by ITV Studios – back to its main channel.