Northern Ireland

UTV profits down during 'challenging' period

UTV headquarters
Image caption UTV is based at Havelock House in Belfast

UTV, the Belfast-based media firm, has reported half-year profits of £6.1m on a turnover of £55.2m.

That compares to a £10.7m profit for the same period in 2012.

The firm, which owns the talkSPORT radio brand, said it had been a challenging six months.

It added that a lack of major sporting events over the period had hit advertising revenues.

However, the firm said that there was an improving outlook for the second half of the year, with revenues predicted to grow across all its main business sectors.

UTV chairman Richard Huntingford said the year might be described as a "game of two halves" as a slow start gave way to a better performance later in the year.

"In particular, talkSport's revenue, which was impacted in the first six months by poor market conditions and the absence of a major sporting event, is forecast to grow in the post-summer months, contributing to an overall improvement in GB Radio's performance," he said.

Mr Huntingford added that signs that the broader economy was finally picking up suggested better times ahead.

"Recent macroeconomic data suggests that we are heading towards recovery which should see advertising enjoy renewed growth," he said.

The group's interim results for the first six months of the year covered a period when it renewed Premier League broadcasting rights for the next three seasons and achieved its highest ever audience.

It also extended its rights to broadcast top-flight commentary across Europe - now available in nine languages.

Further deals have now been signed for markets in China, Malaysia, Vietnam and the US.

Television advertising revenue in Ireland fell over the six months, though was expected to grow in the third quarter.