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UTV Ireland hits back at TV3 claim as ratings war of words continues

UTV Ireland has hit back at TV3 as their war over TV ratings rumbles on.

UTV Ireland communications manager Neal Cummins pointing out that their ratings for Emmerdale and Coronation Street were higher than TV3's last year.

He also claimed TV3's all-day audience had fallen by 27pc and their peak-time audience had fallen by 40pc since UTVI launched on January 1.

He was responding to comment from Lynda McQuaid, TV3's new director of content, who said UTVI's ratings fall "staggeringly" after the soaps finish.

"UTV Ireland literally peak when the two soaps air - and I wouldn't say there is a graph anywhere in the world that falls so staggeringly afterwards," she said.

These comments came after the Herald revealed that UTVI's 5.30pm news bulletin fronted by Alison Comyn pulled in just 4,700 viewers on Monday last.


Mr Cummins said he didn't want to comment directly on Ms McQuaid's remarks, but added that "the figures speak for themselves".

According to UTVI's figures, from January 1 until June 7, an average of 336,000 people have tuned in to Emmerdale on UTVI, compared to 302,000 on TV3 last year.

Their figures also show Coronation Street (inset) has garnered 8,000 more viewers, with an average of 467,000 tuning in since the popular soap moved to UTVI, compared to 459,000 at the rival station.

However, TV3 publicity chief Sharon McHugh disputed the analysis of the figures.

"When TV3 had Coronation Street it shared the broadcast rights with what was then UTV, so viewers had a choice of where to watch it," she said.

"The total viewers for last year between UTV and TV3 was 550,300.

"The total average viewers so far this year is 498,500.


"So, on average, soap viewership for Corrie is down 52,000 year on year."

In response to claims about audience losses at TV3, Ms McHugh insisted the TV3 group was outperforming UTVI by more than 80pc.

"Year to date for overall ratings, the TV3 Group share is 81pc ahead of UTVI - and TV3 is 30pc ahead of UTVI.

"The bottom line being that TV3 is the number two channel by some distance.

"The TV3 Group is down 15pc this year to date, which is pretty much on forecast.

"But the Rugby World Cup and scheduled programming later in the year will see this balance out and level us out at being down 10pc, which we had forecast when we lost the soaps," she added.