Mrs Brown's Boys tops TV poll as overall viewing falls
Christmas television viewing continued its downward slide, falling 6pc compared with Christmas 2016 as it competes with a growing number of digital alternatives.
Media-buying agency Core Media said that Irish programming was strongest among Irish audiences with Mrs Brown's Boys proving to be the most watched Christmas programme again.
Its Christmas special, Mammy's Mummy, was watched by 659,000 adults in Ireland, up on the 2016 Christmas Special which drew in 644,000 viewers and the 2015 special which drew in 635,000 people. The figures are based on data from Nielsen.
On Christmas Day, viewers aged over 15 watched an average of 283 minute of linear or live TV compared to 302 minutes on Christmas Day 2016.
"At just under five hours viewing, it is a significant amount of time spent viewing TV and only marginally outside of the overall trend for 2017 where TV viewing has dropped by 4pc overall year-on-year," said Ellen Kelliher, Core's group head of audio visual.
Eight out of the top 10 shows over Christmas (from December 23 to 27) were on RTE 1, with Coronation Street and Emmerdale on TV3 coming in at positions six and 10 respectively.
The majority of soaps gained ground year-on-year across the December period, with only Fair City showing a decline.
Meanwhile a report from Group M, another leading media-buying agency, predicted that media mergers and acquisitions would intensify in 2018. It pointed to the Disney/21st Century Fox deal as an international backdrop for media mergers.
The report, 'The 2018 Media Marketplace', speculated that TV3 owner Virgin Media could seek acquisitions in the areas of radio and digital to compete with RTE.
"GroupM are sure the media sector is not going to stand still in 2018 and whilst not quite to the scale of the Disney takeover of 21st Century Fox, merger and acquisition across the Irish media landscape is set to progress at significant pace," said general manager Simon Crisp.
Looking at spending levels in the Irish market, the agency believes that advertising spending on TV was down 7pc last year but forecasts that it will be up 2pc in 2018.
The report said that the ways of watching television had increased significantly but measurement of that viewing had not kept pace.
Sunday Indo Business