Steep fall in profits at UTV Ireland parent company as station misses expectations
Pre-tax profits at the company behind UTV Ireland fell to £1m in the first half, compared to £10m in the same period last year.
Chairman Richard Huntingford said the challenges of establishing a new television channel are evident in the results.
"Less evident, but not to be lost sight of, is the inherent value created by the establishment of a mainstream television channel in Europe’s fastest growing economy, with long term licensing, programme supply and infrastructure in place," he said.
Operating profits fell to £2.7m from £11.2m.
Mr Huntingford said turnover at UTV Ireland missed expectations because of a slower-than-expected build in audience numbers.
"In the first six months, UTV Ireland’s share of commercial impacts was 11.4pc, compared to our original forecast of approximately 15pc. Early teething issues, such as the re-tuning of domestic digital receivers, further compounded the problem of audience under-delivery, resulting in turnover for the first half being recorded at £4.9m (2014: £Nil). With costs of £12.4m (2014: £0.5m), in the first half, operating losses at UTV Ireland were £7.5m (2014: £0.5m)".
He said the station is implementing an action plan "which includes stronger domestic programming, more effective marketing and a better defined branding strategy."
There was no update on an announcement earlier this week where the company confirmed it was in talks to sell its television assets.