Friday 19 January 2018

UTV forecasts revenue boost for radio sector

Peter Flanagan

THE IRISH radio industry may be beginning to recover, according to one of the largest media groups in the country.

UTV, which also runs Dublin's FM104, Q102 and a host of other radio stations, said it was forecasting a 3pc increase in revenues from its Irish radio stations in the third quarter of this year, after declines of 7pc and 3pc in the first and second quarter respectively.

UTV's commercial director, Jim Downey, was cautiously optimistic about the outlook in the media industry in Ireland.

"We've been through tough times but we saw growth in the three months from June to August and that is before the fourth quarter, which is traditionally our big period," he said.

"Surprisingly, much of the growth in advertising revenue was driven by Q102, which has been regarded in the past as a 'level 2' station but has moved up to the top tier," he added.

Mr Downey was speaking after UTV had released interim results for the first half of the year showing group operating profit had increased by 9pc to £12.2m (€14.74m) on the back of revenue that had increased to £59.2m from £54.4m a year ago. Diluted adjusted EPS jumped 16pc to 7.36p. A dividend has been reinstated of 1p.

The company said most of the growth was driven by the recovery in the advertising market in the UK, which was supplemented by the traditional spike in ad spend that comes with the World Cup.

That increase in ad spend was not reflected in Ireland, mainly due to the fact that Ireland did not qualify for the tournament.

Davy stockbrokers' Simon McGrotty described the results as "impressive" and added that forecasts for the Irish radio and television sectors would be upgraded.

Irish Independent

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