UTV Media Plc Interim Management Statement

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This Interim Management Statement covers the period from the beginning of the Group’s current financial year, 1 January 2013 to the date of this announcement and incorporates the Group’s nine month trading period ended 30 September 2013.

9 months to end September 2013 2012 % Change
  £m £m  
Group Revenue 83.3 89.3 (7%)
Radio GB 37.1 41.3 (10%)
Radio Ireland 14.5 15.3 (6%)
Television 22.7 23.7 (4%)
New Media 9.0 9.0 -


3 Months to end September 2013 2012 % Change
  £m £m  
Group Revenue 28.2 27.8 1%
Radio GB 13.1 13.5 (3%)
Radio Ireland 4.7 4.5 5%
Television 7.5 6.8 9%
New Media 2.9 3.0 (3%)

Radio GB
As anticipated, revenues in our Radio GB division reduced by 10% over the 9 months to September.  talkSPORT’s revenue was down by 15% in the period which, when adjusted to reflect the absence of the Euro 2012 football tournament, represents an outperformance of the industry decline of 8%. Local airtime revenues increased by 8% in the 9 month period, compared to a market up 3%, however our total local revenues were down by 3% as a result of a decline in multiplex revenues which should stabilise in 2014. Improving market conditions have led to a better performance in Q3 (overall down 3% in line with the market), with revenues in our talkSPORT business up 5% in August and 8% in September, and our local revenues up 2% and 1% in the same months. We believe this growth in talkSPORT and local radio will continue into Q4 and we anticipate our Radio GB divisional revenue in the final quarter will be 4% up on last year.

Radio Ireland
In the 9 months to September our Radio Ireland revenues declined by 6% (9% on a local currency basis) representing an outperformance against the market which is estimated to be down by around 15% in the same period. As anticipated, improving market conditions in Q3 (market down around 5%), along with a positive foreign exchange impact, resulted in an increase of 5% in revenues (a decline of 2% on a local currency basis). The outlook for Q4 is better and we expect to continue to outperform the market with a revenue increase of 8% (5% on a local currency basis).  

Total Television revenues in the 9 month period to September decreased by 4%, with London NAR down 3% and Irish NAR down 1%.  Growth from July onwards has led to a 9% increase in total revenues in Q3, with our Net Advertising Revenue (NAR) up by 11% in this quarter. In Q3 our London NAR was up 10% and our Irish NAR was up by 15%. In Q4 we expect total Television revenues to be up 8%, with London NAR in line with last year, and our Irish NAR to increase by 10%, compared to the same period in 2012. 

New Media
Revenue in the nine months to September was in line with the same period in 2012.  In the third quarter challenging trading conditions facing our UTV Connect business led to a decrease of 3% in divisional revenues. Excluding UTV Connect, New Media divisional revenues were up 16% in the quarter.  We anticipate revenues in Q4 to be down 13% on the same period in 2012. Excluding UTV Connect, New Media divisional revenues are expected to be up 1% in Q4.  

Net Debt
Net debt at 30 September was £56.1m (£52.5m at 30 September 2012) in line with our expectations.  We continue to be very focused on our costs and cash management, recognising the need to continue to carefully manage our resources.

After the very difficult trading conditions of the first six months, it is good to be able to report that the Group has moved into year on year revenue growth in H2. As we progress towards 2014 we are further encouraged by the prospect of a continuation of these improved market conditions together with the commercial opportunities arising from the FIFA World Cup.  Last week’s announcement of our plans to launch a new television channel in Ireland, following our agreement with ITV Global Entertainment for the exclusive rights, from January 2015, for key ITV programmes in the Republic of Ireland, represents an exciting strategic step forward for the Group.  A strong television offering in the Republic of Ireland, replicating the success of our television station in Northern Ireland, will complement our already well-established radio and online activities throughout Ireland.

UTV’s next scheduled announcement of financial information will be the release of our preliminary results (to 31 December 2013) which is provisionally scheduled for 18 March 2014.

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