UTV Ireland

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This article is about the channel covering the Republic of Ireland. For the channel covering Northern Ireland, see UTV (TV channel).
UTV Ireland
UTV Ireland.svg
Launched 1 January 2015 (2015-01-01)
Owned by ITV plc
(sale pending to Virgin Media Ireland)
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Audience share 7.36% (November 2015) [1]
Slogan YOU TV
Country Ireland
Language English
Broadcast area Ireland
Headquarters Mayor Street Upper,
Dublin, Ireland
Sister channel(s) UTV
Website www.utv.ie
Availability
Terrestrial
Saorview Channel 6 (SD)
Satellite
Sky Ireland Channel 116 (SD/HD)
Channel 267 (SD)
Cable
Virgin Media Ireland Channel 110 (HD)
IPTV
eir Vision Channel 108
Streaming media
UTV Ireland UTV Ireland Player
(Ireland only)

UTV Ireland is a general entertainment channel in Ireland. The channel was owned and operated by ITV plc's subsidiary UTV Ireland Ltd (previously owned by UTV Media plc, now known as Wireless Group plc) and launched at 7.25 pm on 1 January 2015 (2015-01-01).[2] The channel, along with UTV in Northern Ireland, officially transferred to ITV ownership on 29 February 2016. On 11 July 2016 Virgin Media Ireland announced that it had purchased the channel.[3] Liberty Global's Irish subsidiary, Virgin Media will require permission to purchase the company following a review by the BAI, Competition Authority of Ireland and the Minister for Communications.

History[edit]

On 6 November 2013 (2013-11-06), UTV Ireland's then owner, UTV Media, announced its subsidiary, UTV Ireland Ltd, would launch a new television channel targeting audiences within the Republic of Ireland and submitted to obtain a licence for a 'Content Provision Contract' to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. Announcement on the BAI's decision will be revealed in due course. The channel's studios and headquarters are based at Macken House in Dublin with local offices in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. UTV Media's headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland are also utilised as transmission facilities for the channel.

The channel employs around 100 people, with 30 of these jobs being based around the country.[4]

UTV now holds Republic of Ireland broadcasting rights to key programming from ITV Studios Global Entertainment, including Emmerdale, Coronation Street and The Jeremy Kyle Show. TV3 previously held the rights until December 2014.[5]

The announcement of the channel was welcomed by the Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte TD[6] and TV3's CEO David McRedmond welcomed the channels launch saying it is good news for the independent sector and all money that was spent on ITV programming by TV3 can be reinvested elsewhere.[7] In January 2014 The Sunday Times reported that TV3 had launched a lobbying campaign against the establishment of UTV Ireland.[8]

On 27 February 2014 (2014-02-27) the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland signed a contract with UTV for the company to provide a general entertainment channel.[9][10] On 29 April 2014 (2014-04-29) Mary Curtis became UTV Ireland's first chief.[10]

On 1 December 2014 UTV Ireland was granted Public Service Status by Minister for Communications, Alex White, TD, allowing it to appear on Saorview.[11]

UTV Ireland went on air at 7.25pm on 1 January 2015. The opening night included an hour-long episode of Emmerdale and a New Year special presented by Pat Kenny.[12][13] Five days later, the channel launched its national news service, Ireland Live.[14]

UTV Ireland uses the UTV brand. The blue and yellow have been replaced by green and yellow. The letter "U" has been superscripted while the letters "TV" sit on top of the word "Ireland".

It was announced in June 2015 that UTV Ireland was set to receive a major overhaul and rebranding in September 2015 due to declining viewership and advertising revenue, however as of November 2015 no such major rebranding has taken place apart from some new idents, the schedule has remained largely unchanged along with the channel's website, with some media commentators assuming a major rebrand will be made in early 2016 when ITV plc will take full control of the channel under the sale agreement UTV made with ITV plc in October 2015.[15]

On 19 October 2015, it was announced that UTV Ireland and alongside UTV would be sold to ITV plc for €136m subject to regulatory approval, and like UTV Northern Ireland ITV plans to retain the UTV Ireland brand. Both the BAI and CCPC confirmed approval of ITV purchasing UTV Ireland, approval is now needed from the Department of Communications.[16]

On 11 July 2016, it was announced that UTV Ireland would be sold to Virgin Media (owners of rival broadcaster TV3) for €10m (along with a 10-year deal for programming from ITV Studios) subject to regulatory approval. Virgin Media have not confirmed what they plan to do with the channel. Both the BAI and CCPC must approve of Virgin Media purchasing UTV Ireland, which is followed by approval from the Department of Communications.[17]

Programming[edit]

News and current affairs[edit]

Ireland Live is UTV Ireland's national news and current affairs service, airing two programmes at 5.30pm and 10pm on weeknights, with short updates on weekday mornings as part of a simulcast of Good Morning Britain. Currently, the station does not broadcast any weekend news programming, apart from morning weather forecasts.

Entertainment[edit]

Pat Kenny, former host of The Late Late Show, presented a chat show called Pat Kenny in the Round, which was axed after one series.[18] Kenny also hosted the station's launch night special, Out with the Old – In with the U, on New Year's Day 2015.

In July 2015, UTV Ireland began airing a weekly entertainment news bulletin with the station's weather presenter, Jenny Buckley, called The Pulse. The programme is sponsored by Diet Coke. The feature was extended into a weekly 30-minute magazine show in January 2016.[19]

Lifestyle[edit]

Two of UTV's feature local programmes in Northern Ireland have been adopted for viewers in the Republic. The long running travelogue series Lesser Spotted Ulster, presented by Joe Mahon, has been revamped as Lesser Spotted Journeys to focus on locations south of the border, as has the agricultural programme Rare Breed.

Drama[edit]

UTV Ireland are in negotiations with the BAI for funding from the Sound and Vision fund for a feature-length historical drama called Pilgrimage. The drama is multi-lingual with English and the independent producer is SP Films.[20]

Documentary[edit]

The company is seeking BAI funding for a two-part documentary called The Wireless. The independentV are to enter into negotiations with producer Circle Films. It is an historical documentary about the development of radio.[20]

Imported programming[edit]

UTV's decision to enter the Republic's market followed the sale of broadcast rights from Coronation Street and Emmerdale from rivals TV3. UTV's Northern Ireland service had enjoyed a large following in the Republic up until the 2000s but its audience share had diminished following the arrival of Sky Digital, which does not carry UTV. The company had profited greatly from high audience ratings in the Republic due to spillover and cable connections in the 1980s and 1990s.

By and large, UTV Ireland replicates the Northern Ireland service, with some variations as rights to certain programmes are not available to UTV in the Republic and other programming rights are not available in Northern Ireland. For example, the BBC's The Graham Norton Show, produced by a division of ITV Studios, airs on UTV Ireland two days after UK transmission, while ITV's The X Factor, produced independently by a division of FremantleMedia, remains with TV3.

Other imports include daytime ITV programmes such as The Jeremy Kyle Show, Lorraine, This Morning and Loose Women. The Jeremy Kyle Show has previously aired on TV3, while Loose Women also aired on TV3 for a period during 2008. Good Morning Britain was added to the station's line up in February 2015 and includes short opt-outs for Ireland Live news updates. Other ITV shows include The Chase, Undeniable, Love Your Garden, The Cube and Doc Martin. As of April 2016 UTV Ireland has began broadcasting ITV Reality Show The Only Way is Essex

Some ITV programming continues to air on TV3 as they have maintained the rights to some output, until 2016, including The Jonathan Ross Show, Mr Selfridge and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Since January 24, 2015, The Jonathan Ross Show airs on UTV Ireland.[21] UTV Ireland also utilises ITV's back catalogue of programming, including drama series such as Vera, Prime Suspect, Cracker, and All3Media's Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War. When ITV announced they were buying UTV Ireland, ITV CEO Adam Crozier said he intends to strengthen the channel further with high-quality ITV programming at its core.

The only imported programmes broadcast from outside Ireland or the UK are the Canadian drama series Republic of Doyle and the American children's programme Sesame Street.

UTV in Republic of Ireland[edit]

UTV is available to most of viewers in the Republic of Ireland, via Freeview 'overspill' and Free-to-air satellite; however, since the arrival of subscription satellite service Sky Ireland - which does not include the channel on its EPG - UTV's audience share has diminished. Virgin Media Ireland dropped the channel, replacing it with UTV Ireland, on its launch. The channel was at one stage the Republic's second most watched after RTÉ One by 2014 UTV's audience share was at just 3%, by 2015 this was further reduced to 0.9% following the opening of UTV Ireland.[22]

Availability[edit]

UTV Ireland was made available on Saorview channel 6 from 19:25 on 1 January 2015. The channel is also available on Sky Ireland channel 116 (a preview channel had run on both Saorview and Sky Ireland during December 2014), Virgin Media Ireland channel 110 and eVision channel 108.[23]

Criticism[edit]

The channel receives much criticism for its lack of Irish programming: while the news and current affairs programmes have received good reviews, their low audience level causes some problems for the channel.[citation needed]

Many Virgin Media Ireland customers were, and continue to be disappointed[citation needed] with the channel as many of the programmes shown on UTV in Northern Ireland are not available on UTV Ireland, which replaced UTV on the cable service in 2015. UTV Ireland's doesn't have rights to Champions League where Irish viewers on the UPC platform had the choice between TV3's and ITV's coverage. TV3 continue to hold the rights to Broadchurch, which they air an hour after the ITV network. UTV Ireland's decision to run repeats of Foyle's War episodes rather than the new series along with UTV also cause complaints.

UTV's initial decision not to broadcast Good Morning Britain also caused some complaints but the programme was added to UTV Ireland schedules beginning 1 February 2015 with low viewership ratings.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.tamireland.ie/box-clever/tv-basics/share-and-reach
  2. ^ "Welcome". UTV Ireland. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  3. ^ http://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/tv3-owner-virgin-media-buys-utv-ireland-for-10m-1.2718283
  4. ^ Burke-Kennedy, Eoin; Carbery, Genevieve (2013-11-06). "UTV to launch new Dublin-based TV channel by 2015". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  5. ^ "Blow to TV3 as UTV plans to launch TV station here". Independent.ie. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  6. ^ "Pat Rabbitte welcomes UTV move by The Irish Times". SoundCloud. 2013-11-06. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  7. ^ Kelly, Louise (2013-11-06). "Newstalk - UTV hopes to use radio network to contribute to Irish TV channel". Newstalk. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  8. ^ McCaughren, Samantha (2014-01-12). "TV3 will oppose UTV Irish licence". The Sunday Time. Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  9. ^ "BAI Signs Content Contract with 'UTV Ireland'". bai.ie. 
  10. ^ a b "UTV Ireland Appoints Mary Curtis as Head of Channel". Irish Film and Television Network. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "Minister designates new UTV Ireland channel for carriage on SAORVIEW". DCENR. Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. 1 Dec 2014. Retrieved 6 Dec 2014. 
  12. ^ "UTV Ireland launch as it happened". Irish Mirror. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  13. ^ Kemp, Stuart (5 January 2015). "UTV Ireland becomes Republic's first new commercial broadcaster since 1998". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  14. ^ Bielenberg, Kim (6 January 2015). "REVIEW: UTV's new 'Ireland Live' is slick but pre-packaged". The Irish Independent. Independent News and Media. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "UTV Ireland plans channel revamp". RTÉ.ie. 28 June 2015. 
  16. ^ http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/news/utv-ireland-clears-first-hurdle-in-takeover-deal-34306440.html
  17. ^ "ITV sells UTV Ireland | itvplc". itvplc. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  18. ^ "Coco Television to produce Pat Kenny series". UTV Ireland. 9 December 2014. 
  19. ^ http://utv.ie/Entertainment/2016/01/18/The-Pulse-extends-to-half-hour-show-52380
  20. ^ a b "BAI Announces Over €5m Funding Support through Sound & Vision II Scheme". bai.ie. 
  21. ^ "TV - The Jonathan Ross Show - entertainment.ie". entertainment.ie. 
  22. ^ "Share and reach". TAM Ireland. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  23. ^ "UTV Ireland - Frequently Asked Questions". UTV Ireland. 
  24. ^ "'Good Morning Britain' (and Ireland) - UTV Ireland to broadcast UK breakfast show=UTV Ireland". 

External links[edit]