Setanta Sports gives Irish films a try-out


ONE MORE THING:THE DECISION by Setanta Sports to add music and Irish films to its schedule for the quiet summer months marks an interesting shift in strategy by the broadcaster.

Setanta carried U2’s concert from Glastonbury last week on a free-to-air basis on cable and satellite. It has also announced a deal with the Irish Film Board to show 20 locally-produced movies during July.

“It’s an opportunity to show something different on the channel,” Setanta chief executive Colin Morgan told me this week.

“We’re hoping it can broaden our appeal a little bit. But we’re still a sports channel.”

Morgan said Setanta achieved an “average reach” of 165,000 for the U2 concert, which was also broadcast by the BBC.

A good audience for a football match would be 100,000, so the appeal to Setanta is obvious and the broadcast helped to boost its advertising revenues.

Morgan is looking forward to the new football and rugby seasons. Setanta has live rights for the English Premier League and the Rugby World Cup.

“The second half of the year is a big one for us,” Morgan said.

He described Setanta’s subscriber numbers as “steady”, while advertising is “holding up” albeit in a “challenging market”.

Setanta recently implemented 15 redundancies as part of a cost-cutting exercise.

“We hope this year to get to break-even.

“That would be a good result for us,” he said.