UTV Media (GB) Limited a subsidiary of UTV Media plc (UTV) – along with its two Sound Digital consortium partners Bauer Media and Arqiva – has been awarded the UK’s second national DAB multiplex licence by the communications regulator Ofcom.
Sound Digital combines two of the UK’s leading commercial radio broadcasters UTV and Bauer Media with the UK’s leading provider of broadcast transmission services Arqiva. Each of the participants is also a long-standing operator of DAB digital radio multiplexes in the UK.
Sound Digital has committed to launching its network within 12 months of Ofcom’s decision and UTV plans to launch four new radio stations on this service in 2016. These include three original speech radio stations – talkRADIO, talkSPORT 2 and talkBUSINESS – to complement talkSPORT and build on UTV’s track record in speech broadcasting and the return of Virgin Radio under a 12 year licence agreement between UTV and the Virgin Group.
UTV will invest in the region of £4m in 2016, including capital expenditure of £1m, to set up the stations. Following a further investment of approximately £1m in 2017 the stations are expected to move into significant profit thereafter.
John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc said:“Today’s announcement is wonderful news for our staff and our business and with our partners Bauer Media and Arqiva represents an exciting opportunity for the commercial radio industry to offer listeners a distinctive new range of digital stations in the coming years. I’m confident that our heritage and experience in radio broadcasting will make these stations a success.”
Scott Taunton, Chief Operating Officer, UTV Media plc, said:“Ofcom is not expected to advertise any further national DAB multiplex licences so our participation in this successful bid provides a unique platform for UTV to expand its radio business in the UK. Nearly 50% of households now own a DAB set, and our new stations will ensure we are ideally positioned to capitalise on this growth in listener demand for digital radio.”