The Top 50 TV Programmes 2020

2020 was, as we all know, an unprecedented year. While the heroes of our nation battled the COVID-19 pandemic the rest of the country was drawn more and more to the TV set for a way to keep informed, educated and entertained throughout the year. Official TAM Ireland/Nielsen figures for 2020 show television dominated our leisure time with the average Irish adult in a TV home watching for 2 hours 58 mins every day – a 2% increase on 2019. 84% of daily viewing is consumed live, (i.e. viewed as it is scheduled), with just 16% watched as catch up.
Good news for advertisers; Housekeepers (those that have the responsibility for the main household shopping) continue to be amongst the heaviest viewers spending 3hrs and 40 mins watching broadcast TV every day.

The highest rating of all programmes across all channels available to view in Ireland in 2020 was The Late Late Toy Show1. A reflection of the year that was in it – the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s speech on St. Patrick’s day on RTE One was the 2nd most watch show of the year. Interestingly when it comes to entertainment shows, I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here, Room to Improve, Dancing with the Stars and DIY SOS all performed exceptionally well, making it into the top 20 shows of the year1. Home-produced programmes and entertainment shows continued to dominate the top of the ratings chart accounting for 48 of the top 50 programmes of the year. Despite all the disruption to Sport it was again a big winner this year. The All Ireland Football Final Dublin V Mayo was the most viewed sporting programme of 2020 and the Ireland V France match was the most viewed Guinness Six Nations game.

Looking at the Top 50 programmes it is evident that “Live” programmes, big events and home produced content are hugely popular, which is a unique strength of TV broadcasters. The ability of TV broadcasters to provide this content at scale to mass audiences is one of the reasons why TV continues to stand out as the super medium.

Contributing to the success of Linear TV viewing in 2020, all broadcasters enjoyed record breaking performances within their own channels throughout the year. RTE’s Late Late Toy Show recorded the highest viewing figures ever for the annual event. Virgin Media Television’s hard-hitting fly on the wall series The Guards: Inside the K was the best performing documentary series ever in the Broadcaster’s history. TG4 ‘John Sheahan’s 80th Birthday Live from Vicar Street’ was the highest performing non live sport programme since 2016.Channel 4’s Bake Off Final was up 36% Vs the 2019’s final and 2019/20 was the best ever Premier League season on Sky Sports up 10% vs pre
lockdown level.
Jill McGrath CEO of TAM Ireland commented: TV has been a stalwart companion to the Irish nation in a year like nothing any of us have ever experienced before. Throughout the year TV kept us informed, educated and entertained and for this it holds a special place in the hearts of the nation. The content produced by TV broadcasters continues to keep us connected and drive conversations across the nation, with relevance being at the heart of its appeal.

Source: TAM Ireland Ltd / Nielsen TAM
Top Programmes based on Individuals 4+, All Subscribing Channels,  Averaging Option: Any Day, Any Time, Best Episode, Minimum Duration 10 Minutes.
Please note: This list uses best episode of a series.