"Late Late Toy Show" and sport among the most watched on RTE in 2021

Irish content was the most popular choice of television viewing in 2021, with The Late Late Toy Show and free-to-air sport among the most watched, according to RTÉ.

The state broadcaster has released its viewing figures for last year.

According to the stats, overall, Irish viewers watched over 3.7 billion hours of TV, with the average Irish adult watching for two hours 47 mins every day.

44 of the 50 most watched TV programmes in 2021 were RTÉ shows with live sport, news and entertainment proving popular.


The RTÉ Player  saw a substantial 48% increase in time spent streaming in 2021 compared to the previous year. Over 67 million streams were accessed on the player last year.The Late Late Toy Show retained the crown at the top of the Irish TV viewing chart with over 1.7 million viewers tuning in for  The Lion King themed show.Seven of the top ten most watched programmes  in 2021, were free-to-air sport. The All-Ireland Football Final Tyrone V Mayo on RTÉ2 was the second most watched programme overall, while nearly a million streams of The Saturday Game / The Sunday Game Live were watched on the RTÉ Player during the year.2.5 million people streamed the Euro 2020 tournament on the RTE player, and the final of Italy v England attracted 941,000 viewers on RTÉ2, making it the third most watched TV programme of the year.Crime drama Kin proved the top favourite among viewers of all TV dramas in 2021, with 687,000 viewers watching on RTÉ One, and 2.5 million streams on the RTÉ Player. The opening episode was also the most watched programme on the RTÉ Player across 2021 with over half a million streams.

Other popular RTÉ shows for 2021 included Hidden Assets, and Smother.  The state broadcaster's long running soap Fair City is still a hit among many having been streamed over 3.3 million times on the RTÉ Player last year.

The most watched news programme of the year on any channel was the Six One News on January 5th, with 798,000 viewers watching. The bulletin was aired as the government considered closing schools for the month of January due to Covid-19. RTÉ licensing of international content proved successful for the broadcaster, with Oprah with Meghan and Harry  watched by 837,000 on RTÉ2, making it the sixth most watched programme of the year. It also generated over 269,000 streams on the RTÉ Player. While drama series including Home and Away, Eastenders, and box sets of Line of Duty, and The Good Wife all generated millions of streams on the RTÉ Player.

The funding of RTÉ

RTÉ gets some €200 million a year in licence fee income, with a television license costing €160 per household annually. The state broadcaster gets an additional €140 million of its €340 million annual budget from commercial activities, mainly through advertising.More here on the latest TV news.