Broadcaster UTV is to create more than 100 jobs with the launch of a new TV channel, UTV Ireland, for the Republic of Ireland in early 2015.
UTV Ireland will be based in Dublin with additional news-gathering and reporting presence in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick, UTV confirmed in a statement online.
An application for a service licence will be submitted to broadcasting regulators today.
This announcement follows the signing of an agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
UTV said this signing would give it the “exclusive” broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes for the Republic of Ireland audience, including long-standing soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
This will apparently happen from early 2015, once appropriate statutory broadcasting licences are in place, UTV claimed.
UTV is also planning a nightly one-hour news and current affairs programme for Ireland.
John McCann, group chief executive, UTV Media plc, said UTV Ireland would be a “new dedicated channel” for viewers in the Republic of Ireland.
“Today’s announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in Irish broadcasting and our investment in the Irish economy,” he said.
He added that the audience in Ireland has known the UTV brand for more than 50 years through its 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.”
McCann said it is expected the new channel will move into profit from 2016.
UTV was the first commercial TV channel in Ireland when it launched as part of the ITV Network in 1959.
Michael Wilson, managing director, UTV Television, said the intention is to introduce the existing UTV formula of combining what he described as high quality news, current affairs, entertainment and drama, for the upcoming Irish channel.
“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.”