Published Thursday, 19 June 2014
Today is really our first public outing for UTV Ireland as we meet the industry. Independent producers that have shown an interest in working with UTV Ireland to make content have been invited to Croke Park to hear our plans and for us to answer their questions.
We booked a room for 50. But there's been so much interest Sarah and Nicki who've planned the day had to scale up twice and around 350 producers are now expected.
Driving creative growth has been core to UTV in Northern Ireland for more than 50 years. Now with UTV Ireland launching in less than 200 days we want to do the same across Ireland, following in the footsteps of our Irish radio stations who have been close to the communities they serve for many years.
UTV as a business plays a key role in many parts of the media landscape encouraging skills and education and investing in creative content. Last night I gave the keynote address at The Ulster Media Show celebrating the best work of students. Today we want to encourage the best programming ideas to come to UTV Ireland.
Being relevant to our audience is key to success. We've announced an hour long news and current affairs programme and we've announced high quality ITV Studios content will be on the channel.
Today we make the call for the best independently produced ideas. And in the months ahead we'll announce even more content initiatives.
We want partnerships, co-pros and AFP. We have a programme budget to invest and great peaktime slots to broadcast high quality public service style programming for Ireland. Lesser Spotted Ulster and Rare Breed are perfect examples of our success in this field, these programmes can beat Eastenders in the ratings and are truly loved by viewers. We want to find the next returning series for our new channel in Ireland.
On top of that Morgane and her digital team are developing a new Player for desktop and mobile platforms - so if you miss it on 'the box' you will be able to catch our output anywhere.
Orla and Trevor who lead Comms and Creative have been busy too. We've got a new modern look for UTV Ireland being announced today. A new brand identity for the new channel, but something that is still very much Part of U.
Mary our new Head of Channel and myself took part in a photocall to promote UTV Ireland's new brand identity in Croke Park today... and Neal our new comms manager in Dublin will be promoting our plans for the new channel across Ireland in the coming months.
So what else is happening, well we have studios to build, offices to construct, regional studios to source, programmes to buy, commission and make, carriage deals to finalise...oh and so far we've recruited 20 of the 100 plus staff we need. So still plenty to do.
Thanks to the team making it happen... I'll be updating on more developments soon.
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