UTV admits ‘slow start’

UTV said it remains committed to its decision to enter the Irish television market despite a “slow start” to the year for the new station.

Given the tough start to life for UTV Ireland, its parent company has pared back revenue forecasts by £2.5m (€3.46m). “It is still very early in the life of UTV Ireland and there is considerable volatility in its performance. The strategic logic of UTV Ireland in creating leading television operations throughout Ireland remains clear,” the group said in an interim statement yesterday.

Station chiefs have decided to overhaul its news schedule with its evening news programme moving from 6.30pm to 5.30pm while its later news broadcast at 10pm remains. The station is to deliver news updates every hour on weekdays.

“We carried out significant research with our audience which indicated the desire for an earlier teatime news and we are, therefore, moving Ireland Live to meet those demands,” said UTV Ireland head of channel, Mary Curtis.

Meanwhile, its Irish radio revenues were in line with forecasts despite a 10% year-on-year drop given the particularly strong performance in the opening three months of 2014. Revenues in its radio operations are forecast to rise 1% on a constant currency basis in the second quarter of the year but fall 10% when currency movements are calculated.


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