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ITV to screen more current affairs programmes after UTV takeover

By John Mulgrew

ITV will broadcast more current affairs content in Northern Ireland as part of its recently completed deal to take over UTV.

And following an Ofcom review addressing concerns over potential job losses here, it says while ITV has “not taken any final decisions in relation to staffing” in Northern Ireland, it “appears likely that ITV’s plans would maintain a high level of employment” here.

Following an Ofcom review over the change in ownership and how it could hit content in Northern Ireland, ITV has been told it must ensure that UTV continues to meet its licence obligations

ITV’s £100m deal to buy UTV’s television assets was completed back in February.

UTV and UTV Ireland’s 250 staff are now part of ITV’s global television business, while managing director Michael Wilson will remain at the helm of the Ireland business.

The company’s television division was sold in October in a £100m transaction, in a deal that was first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph in August. In the report by Ofcom, it says ITV “recognised the importance of regional current affairs to viewers in Northern Ireland” and that it proposed a “change in the current affairs element of UTV’s non-news quota, from 26 minutes to 33 minutes per week”.

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