NORTHERN Ireland media group UTV has warned that "challenging" conditions persist for the radio and TV advertising market in Ireland as the end of the year looms.
Releasing an interim management statement yesterday, the group said that revenue in the 10 months to the end of October this year was unchanged at £99.5m (€123.5m), compared with the corresponding period last year. Declines in advertising revenue in Ireland were offset by gains from radio advertising revenue generated in Britain.
UTV owns the ITV franchise for Northern Ireland and has a string of radio stations in Ireland and in the UK.
It owns broadcasters such as FM104 and Q102 in Dublin, and TalkSport in the UK. "The headwinds to trading which we experienced in quarter three continue into the first weeks of quarter four, with macroeconomic conditions in the UK, to which advertising is so sensitive, still showing signs of volatility," it said in its statement.
Revenue from its Radio Ireland division, which includes those stations in Dublin, fell 6pc to £17m (€21.1m) in the first 10 months of the year due to adverse currency rates.
UTV said the unit had actually managed to maintain its revenue in euro terms. It said that performance was better than the overall Irish radio advertising market, which it said had witnessed an 8pc fall in advertising revenue in the same period.
However, it also expects revenue performance at the Radio Ireland unit to be down by 5pc in November and December, compared with last year in euro terms.
UTV said its television advertising revenue declined 7pc to £26.5m (€32.9m) in the 10-month period.
"With limited visibility, we remain cautious about the prospects for revenue growth across our key business divisions," it added.
Dublin-based investment firm TVC owns 18pc of UTV. The pair had a major boardroom bust up earlier this year.