Shares in UTV drop by 6.7% as revenue growth eases

Strong sterling hits media group as it says Dublin studio is ready for January launch

UTV Ireland is on track to launch its Irish television channel inJanuary 2015 featuring presenters Alison Comyn and Pat Kenny.Photograph: Cyril Byrne / THE IRISH TIMES

Revenues at broadcasting group UTV eased back to a 3 per cent increase in the third quarter to September 30th, with a further strengthening in sterling, a tougher 2013 comparator and a reduction in government television advertising in Northern Ireland combining to temper growth.

In the first nine months of the year, UTV grew revenues by 9 per cent, helped by both the "more positive economic conditions in both the UK and Ireland", as well as the stimulus of the 2014 FIFA World Cup offsetting adverse currency movements.

Net debt fell by £3.2m to £45.9m, “providing a sound foundation for funding the pre-start-up costs of our new television station, UTV Ireland”. Of the imminent launch of the tv channel in January 2015, the company said that “plans are well advanced on transmission and distribution infrastructure, key staff have been appointed, programmes commissioned and the Dublin studio is now ready”.

In radio, UTV grew its UK revenues by 15 per cent in the nine months to September. In Q4, it expects revenues to rise by 7 per cent with with talkSPORT up by 11 pe cent and local radio station revenues growing by 2 per cent.


Revenues at UTV’s Irish radio stations, which include Dublin’s FM104 and Q102, grew by 6 per cent in the same period, or by 2 per cent including sterling/euro foreign exchange movement. “This again represents an outperformance of the Irish commercial radio market,” UTV said. Looking to Q4, UTV expects revenues to fall by 1 per cent, or by 7 per cent factoring in the impact of sterling.

Core television revenues grew by 5 per cent and the group expects a further 4 per cent lift in Q4.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times