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Wednesday 1 October 2014

TV3 won't be 'number two' player in Irish market once we start - UTV boss

Published 17/03/2014 | 08:18

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Managing Director of UTV Television Michael Wilson (left) and Group Chief Executive of UTV Media plc John McCann
UTV is best-known for ITV shows such as Coronation Street. It is expected to produce very little Irish content on its new channel

The head of UTV claims the channel will take out competitor TV3 once they enter the Irish market.

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The gloves are off between TV3 and the soon-to-be Dublin-based UTV, as the two stations prepare to fight for audience share with RTE.

The launch of a UTV station based in the Republic came as a surprise to many.

UTV Ireland's newly appointed MD Michael Wilson said the decision to start a Dublin-based station came when TV3 "dropped the ball" for its ITV contract for Coronation Street.

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"I think it's highly unlikely TV3 will be the number two player in the market once we're there," Wilson said.

"There are very few programmes that people have as 'appointment to view' and there are very few programmes that deliver the volume of audience and advertising that programmes such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale do," Mr Wilson said.

UTV will employ more than 100 people. Wilson said that he would be "staggered" if resources at regional radio are not shared with the new station.

UTV has begun production on a homemade series.

"I'm not going to give much away but we have camera crews all around Ireland covering the subject matter.

"It's a big set piece, flagship programming," Mr Wilson said.

UTV announced in November it would be establishing a new Irish channel and would be taking the rights to popular soaps such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street with it.

Ahead of their move to the republic, UTV conducted a review of TV3.

The results indicated the channel will loose 450 of its 500 most viewed programmes when Emmerdale and Coronation Street are moved to UTV next year.

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