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UTV Ireland is set to hit us with a whole lot of news

After admitting the the channel’s first months have been somewhat ‘slow’, station chiefs are shaking up its news and current affairs coverage.
May 14th 2015, 4:53 PM 32,669 79

Updated 16.53

UTV IRELAND IS set to revamp its news schedules after admitting that its opening months have been somewhat ‘slow’.

The new channel has endured something of a baptism of fire as it seeks to establish itself in the Irish tv landscape.

From 25 May the station will be posting news bulletins hourly from 6am until 5pm, and from 7pm to 9pm.

It’s early evening ‘Ireland Live’ news will move from 6.30pm to 5.30pm, putting it in direct competition with TV3′s daily news programme, while its flagship 10pm ‘Ireland Live at 10′ will remain in its current slot.

Station chief Mary Curtis said that the change of schedule was arrived at following ‘significant research’.

“Our audience indicated the desire for an earlier teatime news and we are, therefore, moving Ireland Live to meet those demands,” she said.

The introduction of hourly updates and the time-shift for Ireland Live will allow us to demonstrate our quality offering to larger audiences.

Head of News Marcus Lehnen said the change means UTV Ireland “will be delivering the latest breaking news  ahead of any other Irish television broadcaster”.

Earlier today, the station’s parent company UTV Media PLC released an interim results statement which suggests that the station has endured a ‘volatile’ time of it in its first three months of existence.

“UTV Ireland has had a slower start to the year,” the statement reads.

It is still very early in the life of the station, and there is considerable volatility in its performance.
Given that volatility we think it would be appropriate to reduce our revenue forecasts for 2015 by £2.5 million (€3.5 million).
The strategic logic of UTV Ireland in creating leading television operations throughout Ireland remains clear.

UTV Ireland officially began broadcasting on 1 January this year but has struggled to gain audience share for its current affairs and news programming.

Over the three months since its audience ratings share has hovered between 6% and 8% (peak), although much of this has likely come from its exclusive rights to such peak time programming as Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

Interestingly, most of its viewers seem to have defected from TV3 and, to a slightly lesser extent, RTE One.

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With the launch of Pat Kenny in the Round this week, the station is making its latest gambit towards gaining audience share for its current affairs output.

The veteran broadcaster, making his return to our screens after a two year absence, is going toe-to-toe with RTE’s Claire Byrne for Ireland’s current affairs broadcasting bragging rights.

Financially, UTV Ireland has been something of a success for the company to date, with 25% increased television revenue of €16.3 million over the first three months of 2015 compared with the same period last year.

Core TV revenue is expected to increase by 42% for the months of April through June.

Originally published 09.58 am

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