UTV Media hit by weak TV ad revenues

UTV Media, owner of Northern Irish broadcaster UTV, reported declines in first half revenues and profit, citing week Irish TV ad revenues and reduction in the UK radio advertising market.

Television advertising revenue in the first half was down by 8% with total TV turnover coming in at £15.3 million (€17.8 million), compared to £16.9 million in the same period a year earlier. However, UTV said that television advertising revenue performance is “much stronger in both Ireland and Great Britain in the third quarter.”

UTV, which owns radio station TalkSport, said that a 9% reduction in the UK radio national advertising market was the main factor behind a £3.4 million fall in TalkSport’s UK advertising revenue, even though the station achieved its highest audience in its history.

“As expected the first half of the year has been challenging for the Group.  However, we remain confident about the prospects for growth in the second half and as we move into the 2014 World Cup,” said John McCann, group chief executive, UTV Media.

Overall group revenue for the six months ended June 30 came in at £55.2 million, compared to £61.6 million in the previous year. Group operating profit was £7. 8 million, compared to £12.4 million, while its net debt widened slightly to £50.2 million.