Irish eyes are no longer smiling. At least not in the 15-24 age group. And not at local TV.

Instead, reports the Dublin office of media network Carat, Irish optic organs in the coveted 15-24 demographic are more frequently focused on the internet, computer games and mobile phones.

Carat reveals that between 2002 and 2004, viewing by young people slumped 11%, while viewing among adults dropped just 2.5%. And in the first four months of 2005, the decline went into overdrive with a further 9.5% fall. By comparison, viewing among all adults rose during the period by 0.8%.

Nielsen data indicates that all channels lost viewers in the youth demographic. Year-on-year, viewing numbers in 2004 fell 38% on ITV (Ulster TV), 39% on MTV and 52% on Sky One.

In 2001, 15-24 year-olds watched TV for an average of 151 minutes daily. Three years on, that average had fallen to 135 minutes.

Carat, presumably unable to account for such a substantial fall-off, is questioning whether the Nielsen sample is of sufficient size to produce accurate data.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff