Wednesday 22 November 2017

Car tycoon Griffin sinks €3m more into Irish TV

CLOSE UP: Tycoon John Griffin is to sink another €3m into fledgling television channel Irish TV in order to help the start-up try and crack the potentially massive US small-screen market.
CLOSE UP: Tycoon John Griffin is to sink another €3m into fledgling television channel Irish TV in order to help the start-up try and crack the potentially massive US small-screen market.

Paul O'Donoghue

Car hire tycoon John Griffin is to sink another €3m into fledgling television channel Irish TV in order to help the startup try and crack the potentially massive American market.

Mr Griffin, who lived in Mayo when he was a toddler, sold a majority stake in UK taxi company Addison Lee to private equity group Carlyle for €360m in April 2013. He invested €15m in Mayo-based startup Irish TV to help it get off the ground.

Since launching last year, Irish TV now employs around 150 people and recently announced the creation of 20 jobs. The channel is focused mainly on local content and is also aimed at the diaspora in North America.

CEO and founder Pierce O'Reilly says that the station had revenues of nearly €1m last year, and is now looking to crack the US market.

"We are hoping to launch on the first channels in February of this year," he said. "We have spoken to several networks such as CBS and Fox and are hoping to be on 200 networks in the US by the end of 2015."

He added that the channel has budgeted an investment of €3m to "help get off the ground", and said that the company would initially be looking to recruit another ten staff in the US.

The venture is to be exclusively funded by Mr Griffin, who Mr O'Reilly says is the firm's only investor.

Mr Griffin said that he was happy to fund the expansion, saying: that while he did not want to spend money unnecessarily "Whatever it takes to make Irish TV work, I will supply."

"There are 40-50 million diaspora in the US, and they're the people we're aiming at," he said. He added that the expansion would give the channl a "global reach", saying: "Advertisers will see that we can speak to the world on their behalf."

Sunday Indo Business

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