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New UTV Irish TV channel failure means no bonus for chiefs

Published 19/04/2016

Annual report: John McCann
Annual report: John McCann

The top bosses at Belfast's Wireless Group lost their bonuses last year as the former UTV's new Irish TV channel failed to meet performance targets.

According to the company's annual report, outgoing chief executive John McCann, operations head Scott Taunton and finance boss Norman McKeown did not receive any cash bonuses or shares under UTV's long-term incentive plan for executives

The channel was launched last year to a disappointing response from audiences and advertisers.

John McCann earned a total of £571,000 during 2015, which didn't include a bonus, while Scott Taunton received £404,000 and finance boss Norman McKeown earned £289,000.

Belfast-based Wireless Group plc, the new name for UTV after the company sold off its television assets to ITV, reported a 10% fall in pre-tax profits to £10.7m for 2015.

In the latest annual report for 2015, it says group pre-tax profits were not achieved, and as a result "no annual bonus was earned in respect of the financial year".

Revenue for the whole of 2015 was also down at the firm - which owns 23 radio stations in Great Britain and across Ireland - from £82.4m to £75.1m.

Analysts said radio revenue for 2015 had slumped as the previous year had received a boost from the World Cup. But the company had also gained £6.9m from selling its Liverpool station Juice FM.

Wireless also posted a loss after tax on discounted items, which includes UTV Ireland, of £5.3m for the year.

Belfast Telegraph

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