Station taken off air as revenue crisis bursts Bubble Hits


IRISH MUSIC TV station Bubble Hits, which is half-owned by successful concert promoter Denis Desmond, was taken off air yesterday due to heavy losses.

The station, which was originally created by young Irish businessmen James Hyland and Lee Walsh, debuted in August 2006. The channel and its associated website both closed without notice yesterday.

Mr Hyland told The Irish Times that Bubble Hits had failed to attract sufficient advertising revenues and it had been decided to cut their losses.

“It was costing us money to run,” Mr Hyland said. “There was no point throwing dead money after dead money.

“We didn’t get any support from the advertising agencies. They simply weren’t spending their clients’ money.”

Mr Hyland said there would be no job losses.

The six staff will switch to Creative Sounds, a Meath-based production company that he co-owns with Mr Walsh.

Bubble Hits debuted with no advertising, deciding, instead, to seek sponsorship to fund its activities.

This model failed to generate sufficient revenues and it began seeking advertising some time ago.

It was carried in Ireland and Britain by satellite operator Sky and also featured on the NTL/ Chorus cable platform here.

Mr Hyland said the station was watched by 1.5 million viewers each week.

No details for Ireland are available as it was not part of the Nielsen ratings.

Bubble Hits was owned by Creative Sounds UK Ltd. Mr Desmond’s Gaiety Investments owned 50 per cent of the business with the other half jointly held by Mr Hyland and Mr Walsh.

Accounts for the year to the end of January 2007 for the UK-registered company show that it had accumulated losses of £586,326. Creditor payments due within one year amounted to £716,692.

Mr Hyland declined to give an update of Bubble Hits’ financial position, nor would he indicate if the company would be liquidated. “We’re working through the final figures at the moment,” he said.

Mr Hyland said he and Mr Walsh plan to concentrate on their production company, which makes about 1,200 TV and radio advertisements a week.

The pair were behind the successful Crazy Frog mobile phone ringtone some years ago.