Ireland just got a lot closer for the hundreds of thousands of Irish people living abroad, with RTÉ today unveiling a new global online Irish television service for international audiences. The new service, RTÉ Player International, which launched today on iOS, provides a new online television offering to international audiences (outside of Ireland) with 500 hours of free and paid-for Irish television content, including just-aired television content refreshed daily.

This development greatly strengthens RTÉ’s digital service offering to international audiences, which currently spans a range of online products including RTÉ.ie, GAAGO, RTÉ News Now, RTÉjr, RTÉ Radio Player and RTÉ Archives. Combined, these services attract an average of 2.2 million unique international browsers per month.

At the time of launch, the RTÉ Player International iPad and iPhone app has over 500 hours of Irish television content, including just-aired TV programmes, box sets and collections featuring some of Ireland’s most popular shows, such as The Late Late Show, Six One News, Prime Time, Nationwide and The Saturday Night Show, which will be free, and Callan’s Kick’s, Second Captains Live, The Meaning of Life, which are part of the paid-for content offering (see Notes to Editors for more).

Spanning RTÉ News and Current Affairs, drama, comedy, entertainment, documentaries, lifestyle, Irish-language and kids content, the content offering will continue to expand with new programmes added regularly. The app will also feature editorially selected collections of content, themed around events, seasons, genres and people to bring a unique selection of contemporary and classic Irish television to audiences internationally.

Launching this new international service Alex White T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, said: “Irish audiences abroad will now be able to avail of literally hundreds of hours of Irish television content across the full range of genres, while providing a valuable showcase for the best of Irish audiovisual production to viewers across the globe. In bringing Ireland closer to Irish communities abroad, RTÉ Player International has a significant part to play in this task and I wish it and the RTÉ Digital team every success in the future.”

Speaking at the launch of RTÉ Player International, Kevin Bakhurst, Deputy Director General, RTÉ and Managing Director, RTÉ News and Current Affairs, said: “RTÉ remains a very important connection point for Irish people living abroad. Both at home and abroad we are seen as a trusted source of quality news and entertainment content. Whether people want to follow the latest news stories, celebrate national events or enjoy a vast range of content that is uniquely Irish, he launch of RTÉ Player International, the first dedicated global iOS app for Irish television content, is a very exciting development in our history. It not only greatly strengthens our offering to international audiences, providing them with a new way to connect to home, but also serves as an important new international platform for Irish content creators.”

Also speaking at the launch, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Diaspora Affairs, said “The launch of RTÉ’s new Player International service is wonderful news for our Diaspora abroad. It will provide them with a quick, convenient and immediate link with home which ensures they remain connected and engaged in the public and cultural life in Ireland. As Ireland’s first Minister for the Diaspora I have met with many members of our Irish community all over the world. The ability to hear Irish voices and see Irish programming is an extremely tangible connection with home. This new service will remind them that Ireland is just a click away.”

RTÉ Player International will be a ‘freemium’ offering. This means that audiences will be able to download the app for free and access 100 hours of free content, refreshed daily. The full content offering can be accessed and watched free of advertising for a monthly subscription of €8.99 ($8.99/ £6.99) through the App Store. This subscription helps to cover the cost of securing the international rights for the content and for delivering this premium quality video-on-demand service.

Múirne Laffan, Managing Director of RTÉ Digital, said: “Having identified that there is a strong demand internationally to access RTÉ’s television content, we set out to deliver a best-in-class experience for audiences internationally to access and discover a vast range of curated content that is uniquely Irish. The new app, which is available to download for free from the App Store, provides a premium-quality experience for international audiences. The App presents the content in a truly immersive way and crucially, it is under-pinned by a quality on-demand streaming service, so international audiences will be very well served by this new offering.”

Unveiled as the brand ambassador for RTÉ Player International, fronting an online advertising campaign for the new service, Ryan Tubridy said: “It is a great pleasure to be the ambassador for RTÉ Player International. I know from feedback from international viewers of The Late Late Show that no matter where or how long you are living abroad, sometimes you just need that connection to home, whether that’s hearing the Irish accent, catching up with news and events or getting a dose of Irish humour. RTÉ Player International delivers this in spades – it’s like having Ireland in your pocket – just one click away.”

The new enhanced RTÉ Player International service is available for iOS devices, supporting iOS7 or greater. The original RTÉ Player service for international audiences remains available on desktop and android.

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By Expat