Published Thursday, 27 February 2014
John McCann and Michael Wilson with the BAI's Bob Collins and Michael O’Keeffe (© UTV)
The television content provision contract between UTV Ireland Limited - a subsidiary of UTV Media plc - and the BAI was signed in Dublin on Thursday.
It removes the last regulatory hurdle facing the broadcaster. UTV Ireland - a general entertainment channel - plans to commence broadcasting in January 2015.
It has an agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which will give UTV the exclusive broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes for the Republic of Ireland audience, including popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale from early 2015.
Its schedule will also include a nightly news and current affairs programme, together with a range of acquired documentary, drama and film content.
We are delighted to sign today's contract with the BAI and look forward to bringing Irish viewers a fantastic new TV channel in January 2015.
John McCann, UTV Media plc
"UTV Ireland will follow UTV's existing winning formula of combining high quality news, current affairs, entertainment and drama. Today's announcement represents a strong vote of confidence by UTV in Irish broadcasting and our investment in the Irish economy," John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc said.
The BAI wished UTV "every success with its television venture in this jurisdiction".
BAI Chair Bob Collins said: "Today's contract signing with UTV Ireland Limited is to be welcomed particularly for the additional choice and increased diversity of content that it will offer to Irish viewers. The company is well known to the BAI as a contractor for several radio services operating in the State."
Michael Wilson, Managing Director, UTV Television said: "Our plans for UTV Ireland are now well underway and we look forward to announcing more exciting programming in the coming months."
Mr Wilson says UTV Ireland will create more than 100 new jobs. Its offices based in Dublin will be backed up by additional newsgathering and reporting presence in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick.
UTV announced that it was applying for a licence to create the new channel in the Republic of Ireland in November last year.
© UTV News