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UTV Ireland has dragged its owner's whole TV business into the red

But at Ireland’s biggest publisher, things are starting to look up.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

THE LOSSES AT UTV Ireland have dragged its owner’s entire TV business into the red despite a lift in the advertising trade for other media outlets.

UTV Media’s half-yearly results showed while revenues were up slightly at the Belfast-based company, profits plunged to just £1 million (€1.36 million), compared to £10 million (€13.6 million) last year.

Its new channel in the Republic, UTV Ireland, was responsible for most of the drain, delivering a £7.5 million (€10.2 million) loss for the six months and dragging the company’s entire TV division into the red.

UTV Media chairman Richard Huntingford said: “The challenges of establishing a new television channel are evident in these results which reflect the significant losses incurred by UTV Ireland in its first six months on air.

Less evident, but not to be lost sight of, is the inherent value created by the establishment of a mainstream television channel in Europe’s fastest growing economy, with long term licensing, programme supply and infrastructure in place.”

UTV Source: UTV Media

UTV confirmed earlier this week it was in talks to sell off its TV assets with ITV rumoured to be the suitor.

Digital paying off

But not all media companies have been struggling. Independent News and Media (INM) today reported a healthier market with digital ads picking up the slack from the continuing slide in income from newspapers at Ireland’s biggest publisher.

Profits were up at INM for the first half of the year despite a minor drop overall in its revenue.

The company recorded €157 million over the six months, slightly down on the same time last year, but took in €15.1 million in pre-tax profits – a 13.5% rise on the 2014 figure.

Its total advertising revenue was up nearly 3% due to a 44% rise in the amount it took in from digital ads, which made up for the loss from print ads and newspaper sales.

INM Source: INM

Circulation figures from January to June showed sales of the Irish Independent, the best-selling daily paper in the country, were down 2.5% on 2014, while circulation at the Sunday Independent, the biggest Sunday title, dropped 3.2%.

While those losses compared to larger falls at most other titles, INM also announced it was shutting its print operations in Belfast with a potential loss of 89 jobs.

INM1 Source: INM

INM CEO Robert Pitt said the first half of 2015 was “very satisfactory” for the company, which had taken advantage of good market conditions.

READ: Love/Hate, licence fees and bias… we asked RTÉ One’s new boss about them all >

READ: The sales of some Irish newspapers have gone into freefall >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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