UTV Ireland expects to lose €8.35m this year

UTV Ireland expects to lose €8.35m this year

UTV said it expects the new UTV Ireland station to lose six million pounds sterling (€8.35m) this year.

The company said the revised losses are based on poor performance, caused by slower than expected audience gain, agency negotiations and issues with the station's listing in electronic programme guides.

It also is experiencing issues with foreign exchange rates, affecting not just UTV Ireland but the revenue from its radio operations in the Republic.

However, the company as a whole is still making profit.

In preliminary results announced this morning, UTV media group reported group operating profits of £19.7m. That is a slight fall from the £20.1m reported in 2013, but includes the £3m spent on setting up the new UTV Ireland station.

The group's chief executive John McGann, said the company remains confident about its new station.

“Record audiences for talkSPORT and market leading audiences in both Irish Radio and Television underpin these results, providing confidence that our new venture UTV Ireland, will emulate its older siblings and over time, build a stronger audience base," he said.

"The significant uplift in GB Radio’s profitability together with the recovery in Irish Radio and Television advertising are particularly pleasing."

The chairman's statement also stressed that UTV Ireland had been launched "well within budget, in spite of a number of challenges."

It said that the goal of becoming the second most-watched station (after RTÉ One) within two years remains the group's ambition.

— Dave Molloy

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