TV Viewing in Ireland will change with New Media

 Majority Disagrees with Proposed TV licence Fee Replacement


Dublin, Ireland, May 6th 2011: Is new media transforming traditional television viewing habits?  While the death of the TV set is not imminent, it appears that change is afoot.


According to a new survey commissioned by Magnet Networks, the Irish company behind the free web-based TV service,


–         71 per cent of people in Ireland now watch TV programmes on their laptops and PCs, with one in five (20 per cent) doing so regularly

–         This rises to 89 per cent for those aged 18-25, with 58 per cent regularly watching TV on their computers

–         Of the 18-25 year olds who own a tablet or smartphone, 40 per cent have watched TV programmes on a tablet, while 35 per cent have done so on a smartphone


When asked if they believed that the range of programmes they’re currently getting from the free-to-air TV stations (RTE, TV3 and TG4) justifies this €160 fee, a sizeable amount of people said no: 83 per cent of those surveyed did not think that the current TV licence represented value for money.


In relation to the Universal Household Charge – the levy the government is proposing to replace the current TV licence, which would cover watching TV on PCs, smartphones and tablets:


–         60 per cent were not in favour of it

–         If introduced almost half (46 per cent) believe it should be free

–         Over a fifth (22 per cent) said it should cost the same as the current TV license fee- €160


Commenting of the results, Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet Networks said: “We thought it would be interesting to commission a survey that looked at the changing ways in which we consume media and how people think this should be licensed for, given the debate surrounding the proposed introduction of a Universal Household Charge.  Magnet WebTV has demonstrated for us that live TV viewing is no longer confined to the television set. With over 18,000 subscribers since launching a few months ago, there’s an obvious demand for a service delivered over newer media devices. And it seems from the research that the more we’ve grown up with laptops and smartphones the more intuitive it becomes to watch television on these devices.”


People in Ireland have fallen in love with smartphones with one third (34 per cent) of the 1,000 people surveyed owning them.  And notwithstanding all the hype surrounding the recent launch of the iPad2, just 3 per cent said that they owned an iPad or tablet PC and of these, 72 per cent said that they used it for web access primarily with only 9 per cent using them to watch television.


As to whether they are using social media to complement their TV viewing, 29 per cent of respondents have used Facebook or Twitter to comment on a TV programme while watching it.


Other highlights from the survey include:


–         Watching YouTube videos is the preferred activity on PCs, smartphones and tablets with 65 per cent citing it their most common activity. Movie/ TV downloads (44 per cent) and live TV watching (27 per cent) are ranked next.

–         87% of 18-24 year olds use their non-TV devices to watch YouTube videos while 63% of the cohort watch movie/TV downloads.

–         When questioned as to whether they thought they would still own a television in ten years’ time, 75 per cent believed that they would.

–         Over one in ten (13 per cent) have watched TV on the move on public transport

–         Popular iPad activities include emailing (74 per cent) and social networking (52 per cent), listening to music (44 per cent), playing games (35 per cent), app surfing (31 per cent), researching products and services (23 per cent) and shopping (22 per cent).





Editors Note: The survey was conducted by Market Research Company iReach in April 2011 using the iReach Consumer Decisions Research Panel which delivered 1,000 responses from adults in Ireland aged 18+ to 65+and is nationally representative by age, region, gender and social class.


This research has a confidence level of 95% and confidence interval of 4%.


Media Contacts:

Bernice Burnside, Bvisible Communications 353-1- 8452401 or 353-87-2337366



Magnet Networks, the parent company for Magnet Entertainment and Magnet Business, has provided voice, internet and video services to the Irish marketplace since 2005. They are behind the new free web TV service .


The company has pioneered super-fast broadband in Ireland offering speeds of up to 50Mbps and owns the largest fibre network in Ireland and the UK. For more information visit