UTV IRELAND HAS been granted a ten-year contract to broadcast to Irish audiences.
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) gave the green light to UTV to begin transmitting to the Republic of Ireland terrestrial audience in January 2015. UTV Ireland will have exclusive broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes here, including Coronation Street and Emmerdale. These currently show on TV3, and their loss is likely to have a major impact on that commercial station.
The chairperson of the BAI, Bob Collins, said he believed UTV Ireland would bring “increased diversity of content” to Irish viewers. The BAI is familiar with UTV Ireland Limited as it already runs a number of radio stations in Ireland. These include Dublin’s Q102 and FM104, Limerick’s Live95, Cork’s 96FM/C103 and LMFM in Drogheda.
John McCann, CEO of UTV Media. Image: Brian Lawless/PA Images.
When UTV announced its plans to move into the Republic of Ireland TV space, its CEO John McCann said that it already employed 300 people in those radio stations and other media services. He said that he envisaged the new TV channel breaking even by the end of 2015, and moving into profit in 2016. It is hoped that 100 jobs will be created by the new station.