UTV Radio profits helped by UK talkSPORT

Operating profits at UTV’s Ireland Radio division were down 7% in 2012, whilst talkSPORT saw a 26% increase in sales.

The company as a whole posted pre-tax profits of £21m for 2012, down 1% from the year before.

“Adverse movements in the currency exchange rate resulted in our sterling-denominated Irish radio advertising revenue decreasing by 7%. As a consequence Radio Ireland operating profit was also down by 7% to £6.0m,” Chairman Richard Huntingford said.

UTV’s television business was also down – falling 39 per cent in the same period.

The group said Radio GB operating profit is up 5% to £13.0m compared with £12.4m in 2011. Excluding talkSPORT International, Radio GB operating profit is up 12%.

Operational highlights for talkSPORT included signing a deal for Barclays Premier League worldwide audio broadcasting rights to 2016 and the worldwide commercial radio rights to FA Cup and Capital One Cup .

Richard Huntingford continued: “The Irish advertising market has declined much more severely than the GB market in the last few years. This trend continued in 2012 when the radio market is believed to have been down by 7% to 10%. However, the worst effects of this further market deterioration were countered by the continuing strong outperformance of our local radio stations in Ireland which recorded only a 1% reduction in advertising revenue in local currency.

“Outperformance has been, and remains, the keynote of our radio assets in Ireland which enjoy market leading audience positions in the major cities in Ireland. The audiences from our stations are aggregated with those of two independent local stations to create an “Urban Access” package for advertisers which now provides greater daily reach than the State broadcaster’s top national radio channel.”

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