ITV receives approval for UTV Media deal

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has received government approval to take over the TV assets of Northern Ireland's UTV Media. The US$154 million deal is expected to close on February 29.
February 19, 2016

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has received government approval to take over the TV assets of Northern Ireland’s UTV Media.

Last October, ITV reached a conditional agreement worth US$154 million (£100 million) to secure the company’s TV assets, including UTV Ireland. The channel launched in January 2015 but has struggled to make money.

The ITV sale has since been approved by the Irish broadcast regulators and the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. Now that the Irish Minister for Communications has signed off, the deal is expected to go through on February 29.

UTV Media is holding on to its radio businesses, UTV Radio GB and UTV Radio Ireland, as well as its digital media businesses, Simply Zesty and Tibus Digital.

In other ITV news, the broadcaster has commissioned the wildlife series Fierce starring Steve Backshall (6 x 60 minutes). Produced by Shiver, the show will follow the TV naturalist to Guyana, Mexico, Namibia, Indonesia, Australia and South Africa where he seeks out fearsome and feisty creatures such as American crocodiles, the endangered Giant River Otter and the Honey Badger. Sally Evans is exec producing for Shiver.

Backshall also recently teamed up with the BBC for the tentatively titled Venezuela-set adventure series, Steve Backshall’s Extreme Mountain Challenge.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.