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TV3 claims to have reached 7percent audience share
01 Oct 1998 :

TV3 has claimed viewing figures of 927,000 people for its main schedule highlights over the first two weeks of operation. These figures are centred around its core programmes last week such as 'Eastenders', 'Merlin', 'TV3 News' and the main movie of the week 'The Quick and the Dead'. Given these viewing figures the station believes it has already reached and passed its initial audience target of 6%.

However The Sunday Business Post reports that RTE has audience figures showing near record viewing levels with 46% of viewers for its autumn schedule, with large numbers for news, current affairs and the drama 'Falling For a Dancer' which was produced by Parallel films for BBC Northern Ireland in association with RTE.

The general feeling is that TV3 is attracting viewers from UTV, Sky One and BBC rather than RTE. One clear indication of this is the fact one third of all Irish viewers of the soap 'Eastenders' watched it on TV3 rather than on BBC where it is shown simultanously. The station has so far reached 72% of its target audience with only 85% maximum reach nationally and with not everyone tuned in. The upcoming Irish match, which the station has sole rights to, should see the tuning problem solved quickly.

Although the station is happy and holding its own in the prime time slots, the afternoon and late night ratings though are near zero. And this is where RTE are building up their coverage. Over the next six months viewers, will be receiving the build up to breakfast television due to launch in March on RTE 1. The new programme 'Good Morning Ireland TV', which is reported to have cost in the region of 3.6 million over two years is an independent production backed by Bob Geldof's company Planet 24 ('Big Breakfast' on Channel 4), MCI, which is behind the British channel Tara, and independent producers Gerard Heffernan of Frontier Films and Robin Edwards.

The programme was scheduled to launch this month but was postponed after RTE technicians fought it out with the producers on union rules, practices and compensation of working at that hour of the morning. The station is still dealing problems of operating in a competitive market place.

Michael McMahon 01/10/98



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