UTV Media

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"UTV Group" redirects here. For the Indian company, see UTV Software Communications. For other uses, see UTV.
UTV Media plc
Public limited company
Traded as LSEUTV
Industry Broadcasting
Founded 17 February 1959
Headquarters Belfast, Northern Ireland
Key people
Richard Huntingford
John McCann
(Chief Executive)
Revenue Decrease £116 m (2014)[1]
Website www.utvmedia.com

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.


Ulster Television started in 1959. The franchise provides ITV programmes to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.


UTV headquarters at Havelock House.

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.[2]

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%.[3] The details were expected to be finalised before the end of January, but things then were put on hold.[4] On 28 February 2007, SMG finally called off the merger.[5]

Corporate re-organisation[edit]

Historically, the company was called Ulster Television plc, but this was changed to UTV plc in June 2006 following shareholder approval.[6] 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 [1] – 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.[7]

Acquisition of television operations by ITV[edit]

On 19 October 2015, it was announced that ITV plc would acquire UTV's ITV franchise for £100 million, subject to regulatory approval. UTV will retain its radio operations, but the company will be re-named as ITV plans to retain the UTV brand.[8]


According to the 2014 Annual report, 36% of group revenue is spent on television, some £24.5 million is spent on both channels. [9]


UTV is the licence-holder of the Channel 3 for Northern Ireland. Since the acquisition of Channel Television by ITV plc, it has been the only stand-alone Channel 3 licensee, as ITV plc own 12 licences and STV Group plc own two. However, UTV Media reached an agreement in October 2015 to sell its television stations to ITV plc.[8]

UTV Ireland[edit]

UTV Ireland was launched in January 2015, carrying many of ITV's programming including Coronation Street and Emmerdale etc. for the Republic of Ireland, which were previously broadcast in the Republic of Ireland by TV3. The station produces some home-grown programming, including the twice-nightly national news programme Ireland Live.


UTV Radio[edit]

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.

New Media[edit]


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 company's ISP services.

UTV Connect[edit]

Main article: UTV Internet

Until selling it to Rainbow Communications and Vodafone Ireland in 2014, UTV owned the internet service provider UTV Connect, previously UTV Internet, through which they provided broadband and fibre optic internet packages. UTV operated this service in both Northern Ireland, and the Republic. Although they did not market themselves to internet subscribers outside the island of Ireland, services were also available in Great Britain. The Northern Ireland section of their broadband website was entitled Northern Ireland and rest of UK.[10] In August 2004 the company moved into the telephone market, offering free off-peak calls with a new service, UTV Talk. The service was available to customers in Northern Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland.

BMS/UTV Radio Solutions[edit]

BMS (Broadcast Media Sales), now renamed UTV Radio Solutions[11] is the advertising sales house for UTV Radio in Ireland.


The company publishes a free, London-based men's magazine called Sport.


UTV over the years have acquired a large collection of works by mainly Irish Artists. The collection, UTV Art, includes commissions and acquisitions.[12]


Until 2014, UTV hosted an online car dealership named UTV Drive, created in partnership with Abbey Insurance.[13]

Notes and References[edit]



  1. ^ "Preliminary Announcement" (PDF). UTV Media. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2014-03-26. 
  2. ^ BBC News – UTV scraps plans for SMG merger
  3. ^ BBC News – UTV gains ground in SMG merger negotiations
  4. ^ "Slow going as SMG holds back on merger". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  5. ^ SMG ends UTV merger talks
  6. ^ UTV Plc – UTV Notice of 2005 AGM
  7. ^ "FE Investegate -UTV Media PLC Announcements - UTV Media PLC: First Day of Dealings". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "UTV Media agrees sale of TV stations to ITV for £100m". BBC News. Retrieved 19 October 2015. 
  9. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/aug/28/utvs-profits-fall-90-as-new-tv-channel-costs-mount
  10. ^ Television, News, Internet and Telephony services from UTV in Northern Ireland
  11. ^ "UTV Radio Solutions". Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  12. ^ UTV plc – An Introduction to the UTV Art Collection Archived 16 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ UTV Drive

External links[edit]