UTV Media sees revenues rise 7 per cent as market improves

Encouraging signs for firm as Irish revenues rise 6 per cent, outperforming the local market

UTV Media’s group chief executive John McCann at the launch of a new Irish TV channel UTV Ireland last year. Revenue at the Belfast-based firm rose 7 per cent in the first three months of the year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

UTV Media’s group chief executive John McCann at the launch of a new Irish TV channel UTV Ireland last year. Revenue at the Belfast-based firm rose 7 per cent in the first three months of the year. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Revenue at UTV media rose 7 per cent as trading conditions improved in the run-up to the World Cup this summer.

The firm, which owns Irish stations Q102, FM104 and LMFM, reported revenue of £27.8 million for the quarter ended March 31st. That compares with £26 million in the same period a year earlier.

The comany said its largest division, Radio GB, was up 10 per cent overall, lfited by a 16 per cent increase in revenue at TalkSport.

In Ireland, revenues were 6 per cent higher, outperforming the local market, to £5.1 million, with an increase 1 per cent expected in the second quarter.

In the current quarter, the company expects revenue to rise 18 per cent as the World Cup bolsters a modest recovery in the radio sector, with TalkSport expected to report a 45 per cent jump.

Group finance director Norman McKeown said the World Cup, which kicks off in June, had helped UTV Media to build on a modest recovery already under way in the advertising market for radio broadcasters nationwide.

“It is a combination of a return to growing markets and also the boost that we get, or the increase that we get, from the World Cup,” McKeown told Reuters.

Revenue at the company TV business was up 4 per cent in the quarter to March 31st, with net advertising revenue for London up 3 per cent.

In Ireland, advertising revenue rose 11 per cent, and UTV Media said it predicted revenues to increase by 4 per cent in the second quarter of the year.

TV revenues for the six months to June 2014 are predicted to be up 9 per cent compared with last year.

The group will launch a new channel tailored for Republic of Ireland viewers in January 2015, and the improving market was an “encouraging” sign for UTV Media, chief execuitve John McCann said in a statement.

“We remain confident of the opportunity that the new channel offers us to create significant long term shareholder value,” he said.