Ulster Television PLC
06 June 2003
6 June 2003
Ulster Television plc
CHAIRMAN'S AGM STATEMENT
Ulster Television Chairman, John B. McGuckian will give the following trading
update at the annual general meeting of Ulster Television plc (UTV) today.
'The last year has continued to be challenging for the whole media sector where
the consequences of the extended downturn in advertising revenue have sometimes
'Nevertheless, I am able to report the continuing sector out performance by UTV.
It is perhaps worth noting some of the highlights of 2002:
• A 4.7% increase in television advertising revenue compared to a 1%
decrease for ITV as a whole.
• For the third year in a row, a new record share of 2.24% of the ITV
• Creation of a major radio group in the Republic of Ireland.
• Establishment of a profitable and growing internet company.
• Group profit before tax and amortisation up by 3.7%
• A 4.3% increase in the dividend for the year.
'A strong financial performance is only possible if we provide programming and
content that our viewers and listeners want to watch and listen to and I would
like to pick out the highlights from 2002.
'Throughout 2002, UTV had an average 34% share of viewing in Northern Ireland in
peak time, which meant that:
• UTV had 50% more viewers in peak-time than our nearest competitor, BBC -
• UTV had 50% more viewers than all the satellite and Republic of Ireland
channels combined - that's some 240 channels in total.
• UTV's peak-time performance was equal to the combined shares of all the
other commercial television channels receivable in Northern Ireland: that's
the combined shares of Channel 4, Five, all four Irish channels plus every
• UTV Live at 6 consistently delivered more than twice the audience of Sky
News' most popular bulletin in the whole of the UK, and it was the first
choice for news in Northern Ireland, often beating BBC - Northern Ireland's
'Our radio stations in Cork and Limerick enjoyed similar market leading
positions and our more recently acquired radio station in Dublin, Lite FM,
achieved a creditable market share. These are strong radio players in the key
markets in Ireland, drawing further strength from being able to sell a
quasi-national proposition as a group while retaining the ability to be able to
offer cost-effective solutions to local advertisers.'
Mr McGuckian said: 'In UTV Internet, the continuing growth in our customer base
was founded on providing the quality of service and the range of products which
our customers desire. We were encouraged by UTV Internet recently winning the
Best Digital Media Service Provider Award in Ireland.
'The services we provide to our viewers, listeners and internet users, and our
success in making these attractive to our customers are what drive our success
in financial terms. This success has continued to be reflected in our trading in
'In the first quarter of the current year, television advertising revenue was up
by 2% compared to a 4% decline in ITV as a whole. The second quarter, where the
comparative includes additional revenue from the World Cup in June last year,
will be more difficult with ITV advertising revenue likely to be down by about
5%, while we anticipate our television revenue will be down by 1%. We will again
achieve a record share in the first half year and would expect to continue to
out perform ITV in the full year.
'In radio, we are experiencing good revenue growth on the back of our
quasi-national sales proposition and would expect revenues to be up by 3% to 4%
on a like for like basis in the first half year.
'UTV Internet continues to grow strongly and this will be reflected in its
profitability in the first half year. Later this month we will be launching
further products in the Republic of Ireland, which will underpin the continuing
development of UTV Internet as a leading player in the marketplace on the island
'Finally, the focus of attention in the television industry currently is on the
proposed Granada/Carlton merger. We are broadly supportive of this proposal as
it should result in a more cohesive and stronger ITV which is in the interests
of viewers, advertisers and shareholders. We are in discussions with Granada and
Carlton about appropriate network and sales arrangements and are confident that
we will be able to reach agreement on adequate safeguards for the smaller ITV
'The performance of UTV can best be summarised in the opening sentence of my
Report and Accounts statement: 'In another difficult year for the media
industry, your company continued to make good progress'.'
For further information:
John McCann, Group Chief Executive 028 9026 2201
Jim Downey, Group Finance Director 028 9026 2176
Orla McKibbin, Head of Press 028 9026 2188
Andrew Honnor 020 7353 4200
David Trenchard 020 7353 4200
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange