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UTV Ireland: what will the impact be?

There are a lot of unknowns still circulating around UTV Ireland; what will their EPG and trading approach be and in the absence of virtually any Irish content in 2015, what programming will they have and will it be strong enough to lure eyeballs into their station? These elements will have a sizeable impact on their performance in the Irish market.

Based on the information we do have at hand, we can estimate how the new station might perform. A few points have informed our estimates:

  • TV3 will be losing the soaps. These account for around 19% of their impacts. But we don’t expect all the viewers to migrate to UTV Ireland.
  • To offset their soap loss, TV3 are launching a new Irish soap called “Red Rock”, but the impact of this will be modest in the short term as the soap beds in and develops its own following.
  • TV3 will lose some additional programming. This includes Ant & Dec, I’m a celeb, the Soap Awards, Jeremy Kyle, the Cube and The Chase. However, they will retain some of their other “British” properties, notably Downton Abbey, Britain’s Got Talent, X Factor and Graham Norton.
  • TV3 should get a small bounce from the lack of direct competition, which they have experienced to date from the UTV simulcast.
  • UTV Ireland will be gaining 736,000 additional homes through the Sky platform. To date, RTÉ doesn’t perform as strongly in homes that have UTV.
  • UTV Ireland in their first year will have virtually no home produced programming. TV3 on the other hand with the loss of the soaps, will now have a sizeable budget available to them to reinvest in home production. RTÉ will have another strong Autumn schedule and continue to be ‘THE’ champions of home production.

The net result of these market nuances is an impact (eyeball) shift. We believe that TV3 will lose around 9% of their adult impacts and RTÉ will potentially lose 5%. This will bring UTV Ireland’s share of adult impacts up to between 11-12%. RTÉ will still remain the biggest player with 35% of impacts.

UTV Ireland have their official launch on the 19th August. It will be interesting to see if more information unfolds.