History of UTV
UTV was formed in November 1958 after the appointment by the Independent Television Authority as Programme Contractor for Northern Ireland. The Company was incorporated as Ulster Television on 17th February 1959 and on 31st October 1959, UTV went "on the air" when Sir Lawrence Olivier delivered its first official broadcast. UTV has held the Independent Television Licence for Northern Ireland ever since.
UTV was the first indigenous broadcaster in Ireland and is now available throughout Northern Ireland and in 70% of homes in the Republic.
The continued success of its broadcasting over the years has been the result of strong programming. UTV is an integral part of everyday life in Ireland, North and South. Many household names made their first appearances on UTV including Eamonn Holmes, Gloria Hunniford and Paddy Kielty.
UTV's first diversification was into the provision of internet services when it acquired Direct Net Access (later re-launched as UTV Internet) on 2 March 2000. This business has maintained strong growth facilitated by the continual introduction of innovative products to customers in Ireland.
In August 2004 UTV Internet introduced UTV Talk, the first and most competitive telephone service of its kind in Ireland, offering free evening and weekend calls from anywhere in Ireland to anywhere in Ireland or the UK.
In February 2008 UTV acquired Tibus, a leading all Ireland web development company. The team at Tibus specialises in providing online services for clients across a broad range of business sectors and central and local government. Tibus was founded in 1996 and employs 30 people at its offices in Belfast.
In recent years UTV New Media has established a strong digital presence across three core content portals for jobs, cars and property in Northern Ireland. In February 2009 UTV acquired Recruit NI and in September 2009 UTV set up UTV Drive. September 2010 saw UTV acquire 50% of PropertyPal.com. This technology led company had already established itself as one of the leading online property portals in Northern Ireland.
In March 2012, UTV acquired Simply Zesty, the market leading social media agency in the Republic of Ireland.
Simply Zesty is a very successful Irish business with an international presence in the fast-growing social media sector. This acquisition strengthens UTV’s existing New Media division and adds further impetus to our multi-media strategy.
In January 2013 UTV’s two digital marketing agencies Simply Zesty and Tibus merged to form one of Ireland’s largest digital agencies, trading as Simply Zesty, with operations in Dublin, Belfast and London.
The digital infrastructure division of Tibus continues to trade under the Tibus brand, further building on its preeminent track record established over 15 years.
Also in January 2013, UTV Internet changed its name to UTV Connect to reflect the current range of services provided, which includes business and residential broadband and telephony.
The acquisition of County Media Limited in Cork in April 2001 was an important first step into the Irish radio market. This company holds two licences which broadcast as Cork's 96fm and C103 and also owns the radio adverting sales house, UTV Radio Solutions.
UTV acquired Limerick's Live95fm on 24 June and Dublin's Q102 on 20 December 2002.
In February 2005, UTV completed the acquisition of Louth/Meath's LMFM and the following month the company was awarded the new FM radio licence for Belfast and the surrounding area from Ofcom. U105 went on air on 14 November 2005.
On 10 April 2008, UTV acquired FM104 the leading commercial radio station in Dublin.
UTV is a major player in radio in Ireland with a strong local focus and a commitment to the development of the Irish broadcasting market as a whole.
UTV Radio – GB
UTV acquired The Wireless Group (TWG) in June 2005, comprising of talkSPORT, the UK's number one commercial speech radio station, a number of independent radio stations, as well as stakes in 9 of the UK's digital radio multiplexes.
UTV also acquired the remaining shares of Juice FM in September 2005.
UTV acquired 50% of First Radio Sales in September 2005.
In June 2008 talkSPORT became the first UK radio station to create a weekly digital online magazine, talkSPORT.net.
June 2009 saw UTV Media (GB) acquire Sport magazine, a high quality weekly free sporting magazine distributed at London's tube and mainline rail stations and at gyms and offices throughout the country which was re-launched by UTV.
Following the acquisition of Sport magazine, UTV launched UTV Pitch in June 2009 bringing together the sales teams for talkSPORT, Sport and talkSPORT.net under one umbrella to manage its expanding interests in sports related media.
In April 2012, talkSPORT agreed a deal with the Premier League for an exclusive package of international audio broadcasting rights which will see talkSPORT broadcast commentary outside Europe of all 380 Barclay’s Premier League games in multiple languages in what is the biggest development for the station since its launch.
UTV Media plc
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