The Irish Times (subs needed) quotes the Nielsen 2004 television viewing figures for the Irish Republic showing that BBC is a key player in the Irish market although RTE programmes still occupy the top ten places.Eight out of the top ten were Irish made programmes, the exceptions being Eastenders and the Eurovision Song Contest.
Top was You’re a Star with 772,000 followed by the Late Late Show on 763,000 and Killnaskully on 753,000.
The only programmes from RTE2 in the top ten were the All Ireland Hurling and Football finals while TV3’s highest entry, Coronation Street, came in just outside.
TV3 has a market share of 13.5% while the combined BBC1, BBC2 and Channel 4 was 14.6%
Another interesting statistic: BBC1 has double the market share of the Irish language station TG4.
However, as the BBC collects no advertising revenue in the Irish Republic, the indigenous stations can ignore its presence completely.
The article also points out that, unless the Irish government introduces a digital policy, the days of getting BBC in Ireland may be numbered for many as the anologue signal will be switched off in 2012 while HTV goes digital in 2008.