Belfast Telegraph

UTV Media profits up 3% on back of talkSport revenue lift

By Margaret Canning

UTV Media plc - one of the Northern Ireland's three listed companies - has reported a 3% rise in pre-tax profits to £11.2m in its half-year results.

Radio operating profits at the Belfast-based plc rose 14% to £10m, offsetting a £1m drop in television profits to £2.1m.

Jewel in the crown talkSPORT saw revenues rise by 16% year-on-year to £17.2m.

Performance in its Irish radio assets was also better than expected, up 4% to £10.8m.

But TV in Ireland, including north of the border, where it owns the ITV franchise, showed a decrease of 3% in net advertising revenues, weaker than flat revenues over the rest of the ITV network.

Stockbrokers Davy said the overall results were "marginally behind expectations".

Chairman Richard Huntingford, who replaced interim chairman Helen Kirkpatrick, said a rights agreement with the FA at home and abroad had boosted talkSPORT. "These rights will enable us to extend the talkSPORT brand and content beyond the UK.

"At the time of writing, we have already announced agreements with the first of our international broadcast partners and have successfully broadcast our first Premier League matches in English, Mandarin and Spanish."

talkSPORT had also benefited from a revenue lift courtesy of Euro 2012.

But he said that, in common with other media companies, there had been no high jump for advertising revenue during the Olympics, "and as a result trading conditions for the third quarter have been less positive than anticipated"

"Looking to the full year, the continuing economic uncertainty is likely to lead to volatility in the advertising revenue market.

"Both our GB and our Irish radio divisions are expected to continue to outperform their respective markets for the rest of the year." But he said TV in Ireland would continue to under-perform.

The company's share price closed yesterday at 133.38p, down 0.62.

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