EAMON QUINN: Jobs cut as TV3 completes acquisition of rival UTV

Twenty-one jobs will be lost as TV3 completes the acquisition of fledgling broadcaster UTV Ireland and moves all production to its existing Ballymount base in south-west Dublin.

UTV Ireland set up in the Dublin docklands in 2014, marking a bold foray into the Republic’s television market by its Belfast parent. However, despite its award-winning news output, the move came unstuck when the cost of launching escalated and the station failed to build local scheduling around its exclusive rights to Coronation Street.

TV3 said yesterday it had started consultations with staff but that of the 61 permanent staff at UTV Ireland “it has 40 open vacancies, many of which it is hoped will be filled by current UTV Ireland staff”. The broadcaster said it will continue to have three channels — TV3, 3e, as well as a rebranded UTV Ireland.

TV3 will likely start closing the UTV Ireland docklands facilities when it has completed the industrial relations process with staff, early in the new year. The news comes as TV3 completes the regulatory approvals for the acquisition. There has been a dramatic change in the ownership of the commercial television broadcasters across Ireland, involving both TV3 and UTV, in the last two years.

TV3 was itself bought by global communications giant Liberty Global, controlled by John Malone, the Irish-American billionaire owner of cable company Virgin Media, formerly called UPC. Liberty Global is listed on the stock market and is worth over €26bn. It unveiled the acquisition of UTV Ireland from its new owner ITV earlier this year.

ITV had acquired and held onto the Belfast-based television assets of UTV, while UTV’s former radio stations in the UK and Ireland were sold this summer to News Corp. TV3’s three channels mean it now has three soaps, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and its own Red Rock drama on its screens.

The completion of the UTV Ireland purchase will also strengthen competition for RTÉ, which under its new director general Dee Forbes, is seeking to cut costs at its Donnybrook base.

The UTV Ireland acquisition “strengthens independent television broadcasting in Ireland by bringing together great channels and great content under the one roof,” TV3 managing director Pat Kiely, said.

“The combined TV3 Group business is now better equipped to compete against significant local and international broadcasters.

“We can now also play an increasingly bigger role in the development of Irish originated production and broadcasting,” he said.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Irish banks rise as Fitch Ratings pares Brexit outlook

CSO report: Brexit to strain Anglo-Irish ties

Political turmoil poses an ‘immense risk’ for Ireland

Call for new laws to speed investor compensation

Breaking Stories

European Central Bank extends stimulus programme

14 video games it's time to start getting excited about

European Central Bank extends stimulus programme

Facial recognition software refused this guy's passport photo saying his eyes were closed - and everyone thinks it was racist


After 70 years you can now watch Ireland's first feature film 'The Dawn'

Five 'Very Important Patients' at Temple Street pick the best toys of 2016

Full disclosure in Oliver Stone's new film about CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden

What to buy for the most awkward people in your life this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner