UTV New Media revenues rise 15pc to near £6m sterling

26 Aug 2008

Media company UTV Media plc saw group turnover grow 8pc to £62m sterling for the six months ended in June. The company’s New Media division saw revenues grow 15pc to £5.8m sterling on the back of broadband and telephony services.

The company, which in recent months acquired the radio station FM104 as well as Belfast web development firm Tibus, reported pre-tax profits of £10.4m sterling, up 12pc on the previous year.

Group chief executive John McCann said the company’s performance during the six months, particularly in its radio and new media divisions, is a further indication the group’s decision to diversify away from pure television was the right one.

“This strategy has been key to protecting the group against the current market volatility and leaves us well placed to take advantage of opportunities arising from an upturn.

“While advertising remains a difficult environment, we expect to markedly outperform our peer group over the next quarter. With a strong management structure and a clear strategic vision, we are confident in the group’s ability to deliver robust revenue and profit figures in the face of uncertain macro economic conditions,” McCann explained.

UTV group chairman John McGuckian said that a strategic review of the company’s New Media Division caused the company to focus more on content delivery, resulting in the purchase of Tibus in February for £5m sterling.

“We also put greater emphasis on achieving higher margins in broadband and telephony services and exited some lower yielding contracts.

“Revenue was up by 15pc from £5m sterling to £5.8m sterling and operating profits were up by 51pc to £0.9m (2008 : £0.6m) sterling in the first six months.”

Looking at the months ahead, McGuckian predicted UK advertising revenues to be flat in the third quarter, compared to a general industry decline of 9pc.

Irish radio revenues, however, are forecast to soar by 66pc in the next three months.

Television revenues from ITV1 are expected to fall by 13pc and McGuckian says that television advertising revenue is also expected to be down, but will outperform the company’s peers with an anticipated 5pc reduction in the current three months.

The New Media division is expected to perform well, with a 15pc revenue growth in the quarter.

“With such considerable uncertainty about global and national economies, it is difficult to predict the rest of the year with any degree of confidence,” McGuckian explained.

“However, while we are not immune to the chill economic winds, we are confident of our ability to extract maximum value from the assets at our disposal and to continue to outperform our peer groups in the various markets in which we operate,” he added.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years