TV3 does three-year deal to keep shows from new UTV rival
TV3 has renewed the rights to major audience-grabbers like 'The X Factor' and is ploughing money into home-grown shows as it fights back in an emerging war with UTV.
The broadcaster has also renewed its license for 'Britain's Got Talent', 'Downton Abbey' and several other popular shows, in three-year deals.
The Dublin-based station is on the offensive after UTV nabbed the rights to broadcast some of its current stalwarts, including 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale'.
The two soaps, which currently generate a fifth of TV3's audience figures, will switch over to UTV when it launches its new channel dedicated solely to the Republic in 2015.
But the renewal of TV3's deal with X-Factor maker Fremantle should help to compensate for at least some of these losses. 'The X Factor' attracts about 500,000 viewers per show, according to TV3 commercial director Pat Kiely, while 'Britain's Got Talent' generates about 300,000 and NBC's 'Downton Abbey' brings in around 250,000 viewers.
The station is also pouring money into home-produced shows, and will have even more cash to spare once it loses Corrie and 'Emmerdale'.
It is currently tendering for bids for a brand new Irish soap that it plans to air in 2015 in the "early peak" 7 or 8pm time slot currently held by those British soaps.
"Five or six years ago, only 20pc of our content was made in-house. Next year, that figure will have jumped to 40pc," said Mr Kiely.
Most of the new shows included in the station's spring schedule for 2014, announced yesterday, have been produced or co-produced by TV3 itself rather than bought from foreign production studios.
These home-grown programmes will include a new dating show called 'Fact or Fancy', three different quiz shows, a programme themed around start-up companies entitled 'Mind Your Own Business', consumer show 'Save Your Money' and health show 'Doctor In The House', as well as several 2, 3 and 4-part series on Irish interest subjects like Killarney National Park and Ireland's nightlife.
The station will also air Australian prison drama 'Wentworth' next year, while its murder investigation show '24 Hours to Kill' is back for a fourth season.
"It's a big and confident schedule, setting the tone for where we're going in 2015," said Mr Kiely. "It appeals to a very broad demographic.
"We don't want to be reliant any more on any one show or genre."