After just two years, UTV Ireland has broadcast for the last time.
The channel’s Ireland Live news programme went out last Friday ahead of a major rebrand of the station as be3, which launches today.
The channel forms part of TV3s new three-channel line-up after UTV Ireland’s €10m purchase by TV3 owner Virgin Media.
The rebranding marks the end of UTV Ireland after two years on Irish screens. Based in Dublin’s docklands, the channel produced award- winning news output but struggled financially due to escalating launch costs and failure to build local scheduling around its exclusive rights to Coronation Street.
The channel made a net loss of €19.5m in 2015 — its first year of operation. The directors report accounts filed to the companies office cited, among other issues, the “absence of consistently popular programming” in weekend slots as contributing to lower than projected audience and advertising levels.
High-profile signings Pat Kenny and news co-anchor Chris Donoghue had both left the station before the end of its first year on air.
Job losses were described as “unavoidable” following the buyout and TV3 advertised 40 jobs in the wake of the deal, stating that it hoped many of these could be filled by UTV Ireland staff. The station employed 61 .
One of the station’s main presenters, Alison Comyn, took to Facebook on Thursday to pay tribute to colleagues at the station. “It was my privilege to anchor the very first Ireland Live news on UTV Ireland two years ago today, and I will present the very last one tomorrow.
“It’s been an amazing experience, and I’ve loved every minute. Thank you to the incredible team. I’ve worked with and I wish you all the best of luck for the future,” she wrote.
Last month, TV3 announced its new look three-channel lineup — which featured be3.
The new channel will be more “female-focused” and will screen popular programmes such as Midsomer Murders, Loose Women, and Benidorm.
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