UTV Ireland to hit profitability in 2015
Broadcaster aims to become second most watched TV channel in Ireland
Pat Kenny is set to present a new peak-time series on UTV Ireland, which is to be launched in early 2015. The media group said today that it has incurred £0.5m in start-up costs so far for the new channel but that it expects it to turn a profit in Q2 2015. Photograph: Maxwells
Media group UTV pointed to a strong recovery in each of its advertising markets, helped by the World Cup, as it reported revenue growth of 13 per cent in the first six months of the year.
“Improving macroeconomic environment in the UK and Ireland compounded by World Cup sales has resulted in significant H1 growth,” the company said, with revenues up 13 per cent to £57.8m in the six months to June 30th 2014. Pre-tax profits grew by 62 per cent to £10.0m, and the company’s net debt fell by 14 per cent to £43.5m. UTV also grew its interim dividend to 1.82p.
John McCann, group chief executive, UTV Media said: “The improving economic conditions in the UK and Ireland, which underpin these strong results, bode well for the launch of our new television channel in January 2015.”
With respect to the imminent launch of UTV Ireland in January 2015, the company said that while it anticipates a first year operating loss of £2m to £3m, it expects to move into profitability in the second half of 2015. The company charged £0.5M of start-up costs in relation to this TV channel.
Chairman Richard Huntingford said that the broadcaster’s ambition is that UTV Ireland “will in time become the second most watched television channel in the Republic of Ireland, after the state broadcaster RTE1”.
The group also pointed to an improvement in advertising conditions in Ireland.
“The recovery in the Irish advertising market, which recorded steep declines in recent years, seems to be gaining traction with our Irish television advertising being up by 5 per cent,” the company said.
Looking ahead, the company said it expects continuing growth in UK and ROI markets but at reduced rates , and is forecasting an increase in group revenue of 3 per cent in Q3.