Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

UTV reports 2m fall in profits

UTV want to provide regional news services in Wales
UTV now makes most of its money in radio

The Belfast-based media company UTV has reported a £2.6m fall in pretax profit.

The company, which controls the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland, posted an £18.1m profit for 2009, compared to £20.7m the year before.

More than 60% of the company's turnover and the majority of its profit now comes from its radio businesses.

The chief executive John McCann said the performance demonstrated the "robustness" of UTV against the backdrop of the economic downturn.

The chairman John B McGuckian said trading in the first few weeks of 2010 had been "encouraging" with the UK television market, in particular, showing some signs of improvement.

UTV's revenue from its radio operations was £68m, which represented more than 60% of the group's turnover.

World Cup

Of that amount, £43.2m was generated in its Great Britain radio division, while £24.8m was derived from its Irish radio operations.

Mr McGuickian said that revenue forecasts for its talkSPORT radio operation were confident for 2010 because of the World Cup.

"Already, talkSPORT appears to be gaining some advertising and sponsorship traction and in the first four months of 2010 is expected to achieve revenue growth of 16%," he said.

The company's television division's profits were down by £5.5m to £32.5m in 2009.

Its new media operation profit levels stayed the same as in 2008, with both turnover and operating profit maintained at £11.5m and £2m respectively.

However, despite describing UTV's financial performance for 2009 as "strong", Mr McGuickian said the severity of the recession had put the company under "enormous pressure".

"Redundancies, pay freezes and general cost cutting have been painful and it is to the credit of all concerned that the group has weathered the economic storm so well," he added.



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SEE ALSO
UTV in bid for second news pilot
21 Dec 09 |  Northern Ireland
UTV in bid for Wales news service
09 Dec 09 |  Northern Ireland
UTV turnover drops by 10% in 2009
27 Aug 09 |  Northern Ireland
UTV in sports magazine purchase
22 May 09 |  Northern Ireland
Advertising downturn hits UTV
15 May 09 |  Northern Ireland
UTV profits drop by 0.5m in year
12 Mar 09 |  Northern Ireland

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