UTV to launch new channel in Ireland
The broadcaster, which holds the Channel 3 licence in the province and is an affiliate to the ITV plc run Channel 3 service in England and Wales has announced the creation of UTV Ireland - a new dedicated channel for viewers in the Irish Republic, which will become the new home of ITV Studios content for Irish viewers.
As a result, top rating shows including Coronation Street and Emmerdale look set to move from Irish commercial channel TV3 to UTV Ireland in 2015, when the new service is expected to go live.
UTV Ireland will be based in Dublin with additional newsgathering and reporting presence in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick. It is planned the new channel will see the creation of more than 100 new jobs.
An application for a service licence will be submitted to broadcasting regulators on Wednesday morning.
In a press release, 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.
"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."
UTV was the first commercial TV channel in the Island of Ireland when it launched as part of the ITV Network in 1959.
Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Television said: "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."