Irish TV in talks with Comcast and Time Warner

Chairman predicts €100m valuation in two years

John Griffin: reaching an agreement with the two US companiescould see the potential audience for Irish TV grow by tens of millions

Irish TV, the Mayo-based television station that is focused on the diaspora, is in talks with Comcast and Time Warner with a view to massively widening the United States audience for its content.

The company, which began broadcasting online in May, is also exploring expansion in China and has held discussions with a Chinese delegation who visited Dublin recently.

John Griffin, Irish TV chairman and the station's main backer, said reaching an agreement with the two US companies, which are themselves involved in merger negotiations, could see the potential audience for Irish TV grow by tens of millions.

The service is already available in the US through the Public Broadcasting Service and has space on Sky and Freesat. Over the summer it sought an Irish licence from the Broadcasting Authority Of Ireland.


Mr Griffin said the seven- strong Chinese group visited Dublin specifically to meet the Irish TV team, having “looked at the model” and expressed an interest in adapting it for China.

The entrepreneur, who amassed millions after building up London minicab company Addison Lee, has committed €15 million to Irish TV and so far has advanced €2.5 million to the business.

In London

He became interested after meeting Pierce O’Reilly and Máiréad Ní Mhaoilchiaráin, the husband and wife who founded the company, in a pub in London.

“No deal was ever done over salad,” he joked this week.

He described Irish TV as his "main thing" since stepping down from his role as chairman at Addison Lee a few months ago. He and his partners sold the minicab business to private equity company Carlyle for £300 million last year.

“I predict that Irish TV will be worth €100 million in about two years,” said Mr Griffin.

Irish TV makes its own programmes in every Irish county and also produces content focused on areas such as cookery and music. This week’s National Ploughing Championships featured heavily in its schedule.

Úna McCaffrey

Úna McCaffrey

Úna McCaffrey is an Assistant Business Editor at The Irish Times