Northern Irish commercial broadcaster UTV has agreed a programming deal with its UK counterpart ITV and will launch a new channel in the Republic of Ireland.
UTV is the Northern Irish member of the ITV network and has sealed a deal for ITV programming for the new channel in the south of the country.
The deal with ITV Studios General Entertainment gives UTV rights to its series in the Republic of Ireland, meaning that from 2015, it will get exclusive rights to ratings winnings soap opera Coronation Street among a raft of other content.
The new channel will be based in Dublin and UTV said will create 100 new jobs. There will be newsgathering functions in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick, ITV added.
The broadcaster plans to launch the new channel in 2015, subject to regulatory approval. It plans to lodge an application with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland today. The channel will be called UTV Ireland, but known locally as simply ‘UTV’.
John McCann, group chief executive, UTV Media said the new channel will breakeven in its first full year of operation and turn a profit by 2016. “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,” he said.
Michael Wilson, managing director, UTV Television added: “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.”