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Soon you can watch Ireland's newest TV station anywhere, despite its rival's best efforts

TV3 apparently tried to block UTV from getting on Ireland’s free-to-air network.

Pay Kenny will be on UTV Ireland when it launches next year
Pay Kenny will be on UTV Ireland when it launches next year
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

NEW TV STATION UTV will be available on all the main platforms next year – including free-to-air service Saorview, despite its chief rival reportedly trying to block the move.

After its launch on January 1, UTV Ireland will be broadcast on Sky channel 116, UPC channel 110 and Eircom’s eVision channel 108.

And yesterday it was announced the new channel would also be available on the state-run Saorview platform after Communications Minister Alex White signed off on the deal.

The move came after it was ruled UTV Ireland was “a television service having the character of a public service”, which was necessary to give the new station access to Saorview. It is yet to be given a channel number.

The Irish Times previously reported UTV’s main rival, TV3, tried to block the new station getting on the free-to-air platform.

The existing channel argued its license meant it had to produce significant local content, while its new competitor had less restrictions, according to the newspaper. TV3 didn’t want to comment when contacted by TheJournal.ie.

Davy analyst John Stokes said getting a prominent position on Electronic Programming Guides (EPG) across all the platforms would be important for the new station to ensure it got easy access to Irish viewers.

A TV showdown looming

UTV has said it expects to make a loss of up to €3.7 million next year, but it hopes to shift into profit in the second half of the year once the new station has a strong foothold.

Even before launching, the new station had TV3 in its sights, taking the rights to UK soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

National Television Awards 2014 - Show - London Coronation Street - coming to UTV Ireland next year Source: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

It has also signed big-name talent like Pat Kenny and has set a long-term goal of being Ireland’s second most-watched channel after RTÉ1.

eVision and UPC have both welcomed the new station to their stables, while UTV said its Saorview access was “a major milestone” in the channel’s short history.

UTV Media chief executive John McCann said: “I am delighted that we have now reached agreements with all platform providers and UTV Ireland will be universally available across the country.”

UTV Ireland, to be based in Dublin, will be doing test broadcasts this month before it goes live on New Year’s Day.

READ: Get your telly ready: UTV Ireland to begin broadcast in early 2015 >

READ: All those big names and new shows means UTV Ireland could lost millions next year >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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