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UTV Ireland – What’s To Come

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 13:39

Yesterday at the Marker Hotel in Dublin UTV Media PLC launched its new channel exclusively for the Irish market, called UTV Ireland. The main emphasis of the presentation was on programming and what the channel will bring to the market.

John McCann the CEO of UTV Media PLC started by unveiling the channel’s show reel.

The staple of the slate will be daytime favourites like This Morning, Loose Woman, and soap reliable’s Emmerdale and Coronation Street.

The drama offering will include Foyle’s War, Mr Selfridge, Cracker and Prime Suspect. The Graham Norton show which currently airs on 3e will move to UTV Ireland in the new year as it is produced by ITV studios. They also have I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here and Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway from 2015.

In terms of independent productions to be aired on the station Michael Wilson, MD of UTV Ireland, announced finalised deals with All 3 Media (Midsomer Night Murders, The Cube), DRG and HatTrick. The channel will be available on all platforms (Saorview, UPC and Sky) however they did not announce their EPG position as discussions are ongoing.

Mary Curtis the Head of Channel revealed their commitment to transmit 90 minutes of News Coverage daily with Ireland Live. The Broadcast will transmit a 30 minute programme at 5 p.m. and an hour long programme at 10 p.m. It is to be anchored by Alison Comyn. They are currently recruiting staff to run regional news bureaus in Galway, Cork and Limerick.

Daragh Byrne, Commercial Director, unveiled UTV Fusion – ‘one person one organisation’. Fusion in essence is the convergence of all UTV’s media companies to offer a cross platform solution for brands across the island of Ireland on TV, Radio, Digital and Social (SimplyZesty). The commercial team will be made up of 25 people who are client focused, flexible and transparent. They plan to offer a simple trading solution to the market and the channel will be represented by ITV in the UK market.

The event culminated in the unveiling of Pat Kenny’s return to the small screen. The programme is still a work in progress but it will be a chat show. Pat revealed it will have an emphasis on entertainment coupled with current affairs. Pat spoke with enthusiasm and passion about his thirty years in the business, his origins in children’s television and what he hopes to bring to the new channel. Kenny is established as a current affairs heavyweight but his ability to couple this with entertainment might be the most exciting part of his new venture.

Media partners and audiences alike will wait with interest for the launch of the channel on January 1st 2015. The inventory announced thus far appears to lean towards the conventional and would seem to be aimed at mature and established television audiences. Interestingly they didn’t announce their EPG position on Sky or UPC so watch this space for that announcement. This position will play a major part in how big an audience they can expect.

“Fusion”, its cross platform trading offering will certainly force the status quo to adapt their offerings in order to compete with this development.

They have promised simplicity, flexibility and transparency with regards to trading. We were disappointed that they didn’t announce their trading policy to the industry. Group M will be starting trading discussions in the coming weeks where it will become more apparent what this means for brands.

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