herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Harvey's TV station is forced off the air

City Channel, the TV station founded by former RTE Crimeline presenter David Harvey, is to cease trading.

In the meantime, the channel -- which offers local programming in Dublin, Galway and Waterford -- will continue to broadcast on UPC Ireland's cable platform.

The company's backers have decided to appoint a liquidator and a creditors' meeting is expected within weeks.

Mr Harvey and Liberty Global, UPC's parent, are City Channel's biggest creditors with combined loans to the company of €750,000.

Mr Harvey is the biggest shareholder with 43pc, while Liberty Global owns 35pc.



crash

The Sandyford-based company, which went on the air in 2005, employed 25 people at its peak but this number had dropped considerably in recent times.

The channel had never made a profit but had been expected to do so by 2008 when it was hit by the economic crash. Mr Harvey said the collapse in advertising revenues since 2009 and the accumulation of bad debts had forced the closure.

Between 2009 and 2010 revenues dropped by 50pc from a peak of €2m. More recently they dropped to €750,000.

Most of the advertising was sold directly to small and medium-sized enterprises. "The model has no visibility for the next two years and we don't see any upturn in the market," said Mr Harvey.

Two years ago bad debts amounted to about 16pc of turnover and by last year this had increased to 22pc.

Mr Harvey said he had tried without success to attract new investment, primarily in Britain.

"We had no bites. The marketplace is dead for this sort of thing. It just reflects the wider malaise within the broadcast media market here," he added.

Last month staff at City Channel were told the company was involved in a "strategic review" of its operations and that people had been let go as "we examine a number of options".

Mr Harvey told them: "These are difficult times for all media businesses and despite the fact that our company has made significant savings to its cost base and has continued to develop new revenue streams, the continuing recession has meant that we are constantly fighting for a small share of an ever-decreasing advertising and sponsorship market."

csheehy@herald.ie

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