herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

UTV Ireland sees losses for year double to €8m

John McCann, CEO of UTV Media plc & UTV
John McCann, CEO of UTV Media plc & UTV

Losses at start-up television station UTV Ireland are expected to hit over €8m for 2015, more than double the previous estimate of just over €4m.

Its parent company UTV Media said that the channel had not secured as many viewers as had been expected and has been hurt by delayed negotiations with advertisers.

Negotiations were delayed as UTV Ireland took longer than expected to secure its positioning on electronic programming guides.

The start-up cost of €4.1m combined with a delay in the process of securing advertising means that losses at UTV Ireland are now set to hit €8.3m for 2015.

Parent company UTV Media reported an operating profit of just over €27m for 2014, down slightly from the nearly €28m earned in 2013. The Belfast-based media group’s revenue jumped by 8pc to €160m, up from €148m in 2013.

It said that it expected turnover at the its Irish radio division to be down by 10pc after the result was adjusted to take the recently weakened euro into account.

UTV said first-quarter revenue at its talkSPORT radio station, which owns exclusive rights to broadcast 380 Barclay’s Premier League football matches outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland until 2019, would fall 2pc.

John McCann, group chief executive of UTV Media, said that he was confident that UTV Ireland would “emulate its older siblings and over time”. He added that the “recovery in Irish radio and television advertising” was “particularly pleasing”.

In a research note, Goodbody Stockbrokers said that UTV Ireland has had a “slower-than-expected” start to life.

A research note by Davy stockbrokers added that although the radio arm of the firm is performing better than anticipated, the news that UTV Ireland is expected to lose an estimated €8.3m “will likely drive the share price lower”.

hnews@herald.ie

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