Thursday, December 10, 2015
The Irish television landscape has dramatically changed in 2015 with all three major Independent television stations being sold. The consolidation of the television media by larger media interests began in July 2015 with the acquisition of TV3 (and its sister station 3e) by Liberty Global. Liberty Global is a multi national cable and digital TV operator founded by Irish American millionaire John Malone. In 2013 the company significantly increased its port folio with the purchase of Virgin Media. The sale price is thought to be in the region of €87m, significantly less than the €265m paid by financiers Doughty Hanson in 2006 for the station.
In October it was announced that UTV Ireland would change hands. Originally set up as a sister station to the UK independent television franchise in Northern Ireland, Ulster Television, UTV Ireland was sold as part of the UTV package to ITV for €136m.
And as the year drew to a close it was announced that telecoms provider Eir (formerly Eircom) had purchased the sports channel Setanta Sports Ireland.
The only TV channel licensed by The BAI not to change hands in 2015 is the relatively new Irish TV which is backed financially by Irish born UK resident John Griffin.