According to a survey by— an American based comparison website — Ireland is third behind the US and Canada for use of Netflix, an internet-based service which has gone from niche market to mainstream in a decade.
While there are no official Irish figures for Netflix subscriptions, it is estimated to be more than 250,000, with that expected to rise to more than 500,00 by 2020.
According to Rachel Oaks of HighSpeedInternet.com, Netflix has around 70.5m global subscribers, with 53% of those based in the US.
“Out of the remaining 47%, the countries where Netflix has made the most inroads are Canada, Ireland, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Denmark, and Norway,” she says.
“For the past 10 years, Netflix has transformed the way the world watches movies and TV shows. It does this by providing subscribers with a massive library of mainstream classics, cult classics, and dozens of recommendations customised to their personal taste — all available at their fingertips. This is more than just convenience; it’s a media metamorphosis,” says Ms Oaks.
“Netflix’s library is enormous and there are always new shows on the way. With tens of thousands of hours already there for the bingeing, we had to know what show topped the world’s must-watch list.
"Using Google Trends data, our team ranked countries by their number of Netflix-related searches and cross-referenced their ranks with their most-searched show.”
The survey shows that the top Netflix show worldwide is the BBC’s Sherlock, the crime drama that sets Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in 21st-century London.
In second place is US television sitcom, Friends, as Netflix bought the rights to all 10 seasons of the comedy show.
Friends was named the Outstanding Comedy Series at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2002 and ranked as one of the greatest TV shows of all time with TV Guide and Empire magazines.
Netflix originals, Narcos and House of Cards, take third and fourth place respectively.
Narcos is a biographical crime drama that follows the life story of a drug kingpin in Colombia. House of Cards, a political drama set in Washington and based on a British series of the same name, is Netflix’s first original series.
Coming in fifth place is Fox’s New Girl, a sitcom following the life of teacher, Jess, after she moves into a Los Angeles apartment with three men.
The most popular Netflix show in Ireland is Black Mirror, a British science fiction anthology series.
The HighSpeedInernet. com study also shows that the cost of subscription to Netflix varies, with the average costing $8 (€7.35) a month.
Colombia has the lowest basic rate at $5.37 (€4.90), whereas Switzerland pays the most, with a basic rate of $12.13 (€11).
The basic rate for Irish subscribers is €7.99 a month.
While Communications Minister Denis Naughten is set to put the process of TV licence inspections out to tender, the most recent figures have shown that fewer than half of those summonsed to court for non-payment received any fine.
Figures released to the Irish Examiner by the Courts Service show that over the five-year period up to and including 2013, a total of 68,923 people were summonsed to court for non-payment of a TV licence.
However, of these, just 37,983 cases were dealt with by the court resulting in 22,076 fines being imposed, and 11,067 fine warrants were issued.
None of the 68,923 cases over the five years resulted in a person receiving a custodial sentence for non-payment of a TV licence.
The Courts Service said it was possible the execution of the fine warrants issued may have resulted in custodial sentences being imposed for non-payment of fines, but that it could not provide a breakdown of what specific fines individuals failed to pay when jailed for neglecting to do so.
However, the Courts Service said the numbers jailed for failing to pay a fine have changed “dramatically downwards” since the introduction of changes to the Fines Act, which allows for other responses to failing to pay a fine other than a custodial sentence.
“The number of prisoners who are in prison for nonpayment of court ordered fine, including those imprisoned for the non-payment of a TV licence, is a tiny fraction of the overall prisoner population,” the Courts Service said.
“To illustrate this point, a specific piece of data showed that, on 28 February 2014, 9 people or 0.22%, out of a prison population of 4,086 were in custody for non-payment of fines. None of these were in custody as a result of the non-payment of a TV licence.”
The 2009 Broadcasting Act states that anyone liable for a television licence can be fined up to €1,000 for nonpayment, with fees of up to €2,000 imposed for a second or subsequent offence.