Q102 and FM104 owner UTV is planning to launch a new television channel for Ireland, creating more than 100 new jobs.
The new channel will be based in Dublin but will have additional newsgathering and reporting presence in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick.
UTV is submitting plans today to the BAI for a Content Provision Contract and hopes the new channel will be on-air in 2015.
News of the new station follows the signing of an agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which will give UTV the exclusive broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes for the Republic of Ireland audience currently aired on TV3, including popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale from early 2015, once appropriate statutory broadcasting licences are in place.
John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc said: “The audience in Ireland has known the UTV brand for more than 50 years through our station for Northern Ireland and we’re delighted to announce our plans for a new dedicated channel for viewers in the Republic of Ireland.
“UTV Media already has a very strong presence in the Republic of Ireland employing more than 300 people in our various businesses including our market leading Irish radio stations. We look forward to building on that success with the launch of a new Irish TV channel.
“After incurring start-up costs in 2014 we expect the new channel to break even in its first full year of operation and then move into profit from 2016.
“Today’s announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in Irish broadcasting and our investment in the Irish economy.”
Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Television said: “UTV was the first commercial TV channel in Ireland when it launched as part of the ITV Network back in 1959 and for many years the only place where you could watch Coronation Street and the hugely popular ITV network programming.
“We intend to introduce UTV Ireland in early 2015 utilising the existing UTV winning formula of combining high quality news, current affairs, entertainment and drama.
“We plan to make this new channel available on as many platforms as possible, subject to contract approval, with a catch up service also available online.”
It’s not known at this stage if the television channel will utilize the premises or staff at UTV radio stations already based in Dublin, Limerick or Cork.