UTV to merge with TV3?

2 11 2008

A great report from SBP. Or at least SBP appears to be messenger for a love note from UTV to TV3. Staff at Bobballs are convinced that UTV are grasping for an exit from the television business.

According to the report:

A willingness to deal swiftly with loss making divisions is a strategy which will be welcomed in the current market and brokers were told recently that UTV would not be shy when it comes to making ruthless decisions. The company publishes an interim management statement this week.

Any news from the TV3 side? Similar to UTV. they were forced into making redundancies (15 overall). And worse still – no Christmas party this year.

But how could such a merger operate in practice? Would there be a dominant partner?

Rationalisation must necessarily follow merger activity. A new business would centralise operations, cut back duplication, flog assets surplus to requirements. So where could Ulster Television be headquartered? Could we see a bias towards programming generated outside of NI? Could UTV use the merger to walk away from the licence in NI?

What with OFCOM and ad revenues, the UTV footprint is smaller and there is reduced local output in NI. How would a merger reverse this? Surely in all scenarios a great chunk of local output disappears and NI audiences lose out. Troubling times.

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