Tough trading conditions hit UTV Media
Revenue falls 7% in first nine months of 2013 but third quarter proves highlight
UTV Media is aiming to replicate its Northern Ireland success in the Republic, as it prepares to launch a new TV station.
Revenue at UTV media fell by 7 per cent in the first nine months of 2013 as tough trading conditions hit its radio business.
The group said group revenue fell to £83.3 million for the period down from £89.3 million in the same period a year earlier.
The worst hit was UTV’s British radio division, which saw a 10 per cent decline in revenue to £37.1 million. This was partly due to a 15 per cent fall-off at TalkSport, which reflected the effect of the Euro 2012 tournament. The third quarter saw a slight improvement for the market, which led to a 5 per cent lift in revenues for TalkSport in August and 8 per cent in September.
Although local airtimes revenues in the Radio GB division rose by 8 per cent year on year over the nine-month period, a decline in multiplex revenues meant total local revenues fell by 3 per cent. However, UTV said it expected the situation to stabilise next year, and the thirds quarter showed a rise in local revenues of 2 per cent and 1 per cent in August and September.
The group said its Irish radio revenues fell by 6 per cent, outperforming a market that saw an overall decline of 15 per cent in the first nine months of 2013.
The third quarter showed an increase of 5 per cent in revenues, due to improving market conditions and the positive impact of foreign exchange. UTV predicted a better outlook for the final quarter of the year, anticipating a revenue increase of 8 per cent.
TV revenues were down 4 per cent overall, with Irish net advertising revenues down 1 per cent. UTV, which last week announced plans to open a new TV channel to take on RTÉ and TV3 in the Republic, said the third quarter showed an 11 per cent rise in revenue for the TV division, with Irish ad revenue up 15 per cent.
UTV’s new media division, meanwhile, was in line with 2012. However, the group predicted a fall of 13 per cent in the final quarter of the year, as its UTV Connect business suffers tough trading conditions.
“After the very difficult trading conditions of the first six months, it is good to be able to report that the Group has moved into year on year revenue growth in the second half,” UTV said in a statement. “As we progress towards 2014 we are further encouraged by the prospect of a continuation of these improved market conditions together with the commercial opportunities arising from the FIFA World Cup.”