TV3 IS SET to relaunch UTV Ireland as a “female orientated” channel called Be3.
The announcement was made today at a media briefing in Dublin for the TV3 group’s plans for 2017.
In tandem with the launch of the new channel, the existing TV3 channels – the eponymous station and 3e – are to be given rebrands to position the channel as reaching to three specific demographics.
TV3 will be seen as the “grown ups channel” according to new Director of Programming Bill Malone (ex-RTÉ).
The rebrand will see all three channels likewise sporting new logos.
The formerly “unloved, underserved” 3e will become the “fun” channel, while Be3 will be “female focused” and incorporate family programming.
“TV3 will become the premium channel, the grown up channel, and 3e will become, well, what TV3 is now,” said Malone.
TV3 thus will show the group’s ‘flagship’ content, including Red Rock, Gogglebox Ireland, Celebrity Masterchef, and soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
Current affairs programmes such as Tonight With Vincent Browne and Pat Kenny Tonight will likewise remain on the main channel.
3e’s rebrand as the group’s entertainment channel will see it play host to “ratings winners” like Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, Graham Norton and Jonathan Ross.
Be3 meanwhile, as part of its “female focus” will be showing second viewings of the soaps, together with shows such as Midsomer Murders, Loose Women, and Benidorm.
The group’s daily three hours of children’s programming will also move to the new station.
News output across all three channels will be delivered by a new centralised “news hub” called, not surprisingly, 3News Ireland.
A third studio is also set to be opened on the station’s Ballymount campus in January.
The rebrands announced today were widely flagged in advance.
TV3 Group officially acquired the troubled UTV Ireland last week. Malone could not be drawn on the details of the redundancies that are expected to hit the station.
Employees of the station have been briefed as to what their future holds and what opportunities may be available, Malone said.
As a “consultation process” with those employees is under way it would not be appropriate to discuss the issue further, he said.
“Staff have been briefed and press releases have put everything on public record, but I’m very mindful and respectful of the situation of those UTV Ireland employees,” Malone added.
Malone could not be drawn on whether or not a number of new roles available at TV3 are likely to be filled by UTV Ireland employees.
UTV Ireland will cease broadcasting on 8 January, with Be3 launching the following day.