UTV Ireland has confirmed that it will be available on all the main television platforms in the Republic when it launches on January 1st.
It will be carried on Sky channel 116, UPC channel 110 and on eVision 108, the Belfast-based company said. It will also be transmitted on the free-to-air television platform Saorview, Minister for Communications Alex White separately announced.
Mr White signed off on the order designating the channel for carriage on Saorview, which is a digital terrestrial television service operated by RTÉ subsidiary 2RN.
The decision means that Irish television viewers who rely on Saorview will be able to view the channel when it launches.
The Department of Communications agreed with UTV Ireland’s argument that it “is a television service having the character of a public service”. A channel number has yet to be allocated.
TV3 had objected to plans to allow UTV Ireland onto the State-owned platform, putting forward a legal view as to why it should not be eligible for carriage.
The Doughty Hanson-owned TV3 operates under a licence that requires it to produce significant news and current affairs content and Irish output, while also giving it a right to a prominent placing on UPC and Sky’s electronic programme guides.
UTV operates under a different licence that has fewer requirements, yet it has still managed to secure carriage on Saorview. Its channel positions on Sky and UPC are slightly less prominent than those of RTÉ and TV3, however.
UTV Ireland will replace the existing “Northern” service on UPC. The channel did not previously have a spot on Sky’s electronic programme guides and had to be manually tuned in by viewers.