|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: UTV
|Founded||17 February 1959|
|Headquarters||Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK|
|Key people||Richard Huntingford
|Revenue||£107.8 million (2013)|
UTV Media is a broadcasting and New Media company based in Belfast in Northern Ireland. It is a constituent of the FTSE SmallCap Index. UTV Media oversees operations of the ITV Network across Northern Ireland, and it is also the owner of UTV Radio, which operates the UK Independent National Radio station talkSPORT, along with 16 radio stations in the United Kingdom and 5 in the Republic of Ireland. UTV is available terrestrially to 98% of Northern Ireland's population, and is now available, through a number of platforms as well as via terrestrial overspill, to 70% of the Republic of Ireland's.
UTV Media was able to expand between 2004 and 2006, largely due to its investment in and purchase of radio stations. It has had a large increase in business turnover, which was up 46% on 2004; pre-tax profits rose by 12%, and employment rose by 500 people to more than double the figure in 2004. In 2006, total sales were £113.6m of which UTV Radio accounted for 54%, television 37% and 9% from New Media. 48% of operating profits were earned in the radio side of the business, with 47% derived from television and 5% from new media.
In August and September 2006, UTV Media made two merger proposals to the STV Group plc, which operates the northern and central Scottish ITV franchises as STV. The latter proposal would have given SMG shareholders 52% of the merged company. However on 20 September 2006, UTV abandoned the plans after SMG rejected the offer as unacceptable.
On 10 January 2007 however, SMG and UTV media groups announced that they had agreed the details of their merger, including a revised share split between the two. UTV would comprise 54% of the new group and SMG would comprise the remaining 46%. The details were expected to be finalised before the end of January, but things then were put on hold. On 28 February 2007, SMG finally called off the merger.
Historically, the company was called Ulster Television plc, but this was changed to UTV plc in June 2006 following shareholder approval. On 16 August 2007 a further change was proposed with the reorganisation of the group into a holding company and a number of operating subsidiaries. As part of this change – which was approved by an extraordinary general meeting on 19 September 2007  – UTV shareholders exchanged their shares for stock in a new holding company – UTV Media plc – at the rate of 1:1 . The existing UTV plc became a wholly owned subsidiary of UTV Media following the share swap, reverting to solely being the operating company of the ITV franchise, UTV. UTV plc's interests in most of its major subsidiaries, such as UTV Radio and UTV Internet, were also transferred to UTV Media from the effective date of the share swap. The new structure came into effect on 15 October 2007.
UTV is the only remaining stand-alone Channel 3 licensee left, as the other stand-alone licensee, Channel Television, was acquired by ITV plc (which holds twelve licences), while the remaining licensees are part of STV Group plc (which owns two). UTV is also widely viewed in the Republic of Ireland where it has a greater number of potential viewers.
UTV Ireland is set to launch in 2015 after UTV successfully bidding for rights to ITV programmes such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale etc. for the Republic of Ireland, which are currently held by TV3. The new service will provide an hour long news service each night, with reporters based in Dublin, Galway, Waterford, Cork and Limerick.
Main Article: UTV Radio
UTV has diversified considerably from its ITV franchise and radio now constitutes the largest proportion of turnover and profit. It started by purchasing a number of Radio Stations in the Republic of Ireland and acquiring stakes in stations in Great Britain. In 2005 the company acquired The Wireless Group plc, with ownership of 16 radio stations and broadcasting facilities, which it rebranded, along with its radio stations in Ireland as UTV Radio. In 2005 UTV also launched its first Radio Station in Northern Ireland, U105 which broadcasts to the Belfast area.
Main Article: u.tv
The URL u.tv is the address of the main website of UTV the Northern Irish ITV franchise holder. The website offers News, Sport and Entertainment news and is also home to the companies ISP services.
Main Article: UTV Internet
UTV own the internet service provider UTV Internet, through which they provide broadband and fibre optic internet packages. UTV operates this service in both Northern Ireland, and the Republic. Although they do not market themselves to internet subscribers outside the island of Ireland, services are also available in Great Britain. The Northern Ireland section of their broadband website is now entitled Northern Ireland and rest of UK. The service recently re-branded to UTV Connect.
In August 2004 the company moved into the telephone market, offering free off-peak calls with a new service, UTV Talk. The service is available to customers in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland and recently re-branded to UTV Connect.
BMS/UTV Radio Solutions
BMS (Broadcast Media Sales), now renamed UTV Radio Solutions is the advertising sales house for UTV Radio in Ireland.
The company publishes a free, London-based men's magazine called Sport.
- "Preliminary Announcement". UTV Media. 2014-03-18. Retrieved 2014-03-26.
- BBC News – UTV scraps plans for SMG merger
- BBC News – UTV gains ground in SMG merger negotiations
- Slow going as SMG holds back on merger – Scotsman.com Business
- SMG ends UTV merger talks
- UTV Plc – UTV Notice of 2005 AGM
- Television, News, Internet and Telephony services from UTV in Northern Ireland
- UTV plc – An Introduction to the UTV Art Collection