Northern Ireland

Derry Girls episode most watched TV show in Northern Ireland in 2018

Derry Girls Channel 4 Image copyright Channel 4
Image caption Derry Girls centres on 16-year-old Erin Quinn (centre) and her friends growing up in the city

The second episode of Channel 4 comedy Derry Girls was the most watched TV programme in Northern Ireland last year, according to Ofcom figures.

The episode had an average audience of 608,000 and a share of 70% of those watching TV at that time.

The figures also show that adults in Northern Ireland are more likely than those in any other UK nation to listen to the radio.

Ninety-three per cent of NI adults do so each week.

Local radio accounts for 60% of listening in Northern Ireland, much higher than to counterpart stations in Scotland (41%), Wales (31%) and England (31%).

About half of homes in Northern Ireland now subscribe to TV streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Now TV or Disney Life, increasing from 262,000 (36%) in 2018 to 340,000 (46%) in 2019.

Netflix is the most popular, with more than 41% of homes in Northern Ireland now signed up. 

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption 82% of NI adults now own a smartphone and 64% of households have a tablet device

However, traditional TV still accounts for most TV time in Northern Ireland (82%) and remains the most popular place for people to keep up with the latest news.

In 2018, Northern Ireland viewers spent an average of three hours five minutes per day watching broadcast TV, down by 14 minutes since 2017 and over an hour less than in 2010.

The decline is even steeper among children and younger viewers in Northern Ireland.

In 2018, children aged between four and 15 watched one hour and 13 minutes of broadcast TV each day, down from almost three hours in 2010.

However, viewing to other services on the TV set, such as streaming or gaming, increased by five minutes to an average of 42 minutes per person per day in 2018.

Ofcom research shows that 82% of households in Northern Ireland currently have a fixed internet connection, 82% of NI adults now own a smartphone and 64% of households have a tablet device.

Jonathan Rose, director of Ofcom Northern Ireland, said the way people watch TV is changing faster than ever before.

"In the space of seven years, streaming services have grown from nothing, to reach around half of Northern Ireland homes," Mr Rose said.

"But traditional broadcasters, who produce brilliant Northern Ireland and UK programmes, still have a vital role to play."

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