Cantillon: Radio daze: Irish market’s downs and ups

The Irish radio market fell 15 per cent in the first half of the year, according to UTV

The Irish radio market fell 15 per cent in the first half of the year, according to UTV

 

A pessimist would look at UTV Media’s trading statement this week and shudder at its estimate that the Irish radio market fell 15 per cent in the first half of the year. An optimist would point to its signal that it was on track for “healthy growth” in September.

Similarly, the coin-jar-half-empty brigade would look at the broadcaster’s reference to poor trading conditions in the Irish television market earlier this year and wince, while the coin-jar-half-full contingent would be pleased by the reassurance that the third quarter has, UTV claims, been so much better “in the previously soft” Irish market. It’s all relative.

Meanwhile, this week also brought interim results from Johnston Press, the newspaper group that operates in both Britain and Ireland.

Its total advertising revenues fell almost 14 per cent in the first half, it said, though the decline seen at the start of the year of almost 18 per cent narrowed as the months progressed and was just 6 per cent in June and July.

It’s a familiar trading update format – a horrible figure, followed by a much nicer number and the assertion that a corner is being turned.

The jury is still out for the state of advertising markets in 2013, and individual media companies, such as chequebook-wielding Newstalk and football-airing Setanta, may enjoy a financial boost for reasons that are particular to them.

One thing is certain: no one much enjoys a situation, as has just occurred with UTV’s Irish radio division, where a drop of 10 per cent in revenues can be classed “outperforming” the market.

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