This year the broadcasters have been busy releasing their new spring schedules with each station promising to offer viewers something unique and different. We explore what’s really on offer from each of the stations.
RTÉ’s spring schedule is quite traditional, with some highlights, but once again I think they have forgotten about their younger audience and have failed to schedule against the digital offerings in the Irish market. RTÉ 1 delivered no surprises with shows like Raw, Supergarden and The Saturday Night Show all returning. New shows include Saving the Titanic, an international co-production to mark the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and Ireland Outside the Euro, a documentary that explores exactly what it says on the tin.
Bankers such as The Late Late Show, Operation Transformation and Mrs Browns Boys all remain in the schedule. Over on RTÉ2, US dramas like Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy are present but with Living showing Grey’s ahead of RTÉ and Channel 4 showing Desperate Housewives in the same week they don’t still hold the same appeal. New US sitcom 2 Broke Girls launched in January but with disappointing results, only attracting an average of 29,000 MC A15-34 over the first two weeks. Sport continues to play a big role on RTÉ2 with both Premier Soccer Saturday and The Six Nations airing.
TV3 launched their schedule together with the cast of all their hit shows in the convention centre on the 26th of January. Home productions continue to play a key role for RTÉ, relying heavily on reality shows and documentaries. Come dine with me Ireland returns to our screens in spring with new reality shows including Tallafornia, Southside Housewives, Hen Nights and The Great Irish Bake-Off. Other highlights include Mastermind and the return of the new series of Dallas which should attract both the older and younger audiences.
TV3 are eager to get some big rating pullers into their schedule throughout the year instead of having to rely on shows like X factor and The Apprentice in Q4 which performed disappointingly for them last year. While I am not sure that they have cracked it with any of the above, I do think they will appeal to a mixed audience and will help broaden the profile of the station.
Elsewhere, SKY announced Irish advertising opt outs for 3 new channels – At The Races in January, SKY Living +1 in February and SKY 2 in March. Highlights across SKY include the return of Next Top Model on Living, the start of Friday Night Lights on Atlantic and Spartacus: Vengeance will run on SKY1.
So do we think the above is enough to put an end of the viewing slump all stations experienced at the beginning of the year? I don’t feel like any station has the “next big thing” in their schedules but who would have thought that Mrs. Browns Boys would attract 2 million more viewing on BBC than Jonathan Ross interviewing David Beckham on ITV. I do think the schedules offer increased Irish home produced content and new shows to the market which will appeal to a diverse audience. With several places for viewers to be able to watch TV content now, it is important that the broadcasters continue to offer something unique to viewers.
Sarah Murphy – Broadcast Director
As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below.