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Why TV3 will feel the Pressure in 2015 & into the future


TV3 have the biggest battle in 2015. This battle hasn’t been helped by management decisions to drop Coronation Street and Emmerdale. It’s conceivable that TV3 were playing hard ball in negotiations not expecting anyone to pick up the rights outside of TV3, let’s face it if ITV had approached RTÉ to see the shows return to RTÉ there would have been uproar from TV3 and it is possible that RTÉ wouldn’t have entered such negotiations with ITV. Whatever happened UTV Ireland now have the 2 top soaps from ITV and it is up to TV3 to fight this battle on the air. It is disappointing to see TV3 fail to move ITV programming to 3e over the last year, save for first runs of the soaps on TV3. Instead TV3 have continued to court those soaps including another repeat of The Coronation Street Year, a retrospective on the show.

TV3 What should they do?

Well it seems that their management’s attitude has been DON’T PANIC. However they have lost nearly everything. Their decision not to move any ITV programmes off the TV3 schedule shows their fear in the face of UTV Ireland. There is clearly no real reason to continue with Jeremy Kyle into 2014 rather it should have moved over to 3e. Daytime repeats and omnibus editions of Emmerdale and Corronation Street should also have moved to 3e. This would have allowed audiences and advertisers have some sense of where TV3 will be in 2015.

While not a fan of TV3’s daytime schedule it is clearly strong and something that UTV cannot take from. UTV’s decision to air many of ITV daytime programmes won’t bring in new audiences to those shows largely audiences that watch them will continue to watch them, while others won’t have missed them and won’t be pushed to watch Loose Women. Though TV3 may have to improve their Midday programme in the face of this competition.

TV3’s other mistake is to think that 50% of Irish programming is a good thing. While not a bad thing, the programmes have to be good. Largely Studio based programming from 7am to Midnight from TV3 won’t help. TV3 will start with Ireland AM (3 hours), Midday (1 hour), The 12:30 (30mins), Late Lunch Live (1 hour), The 5:30 (30mins), Xposé (1 hour), Life (30mins) and finally Tonight with Vincent Browne (1hour), or 8 hours and 30mins of in studio programming, across the week that will work out at 41 hours and 30mins per week, or 25% of their total output if they broadcast for 24 hours each day!

Red Rock is a big risk for TV3 and possibly should have been taken long ago. TV3 are right to point out the initial interest and then a drop in viewers and hopefully a slow rise back to higher viewing figures. It will be interesting to see a new Irish soap and we have to respect TV3 for launching such a large scale production.

3e

3e are lucky and clearly Soarview is a boon to them. I don’t see UTV Ireland eating into any of their audience. However their repeats of Daytime TV3 will need to stop, as UTV Ireland may attract those repeat viewers with ITV’s Daytime line up. They will remain at 2% share but they should consider their programming eventually their audience will get bored of shows like That 70’s Show, and the numerous gross out reality TV programmes from BBC3 and E4. There was a suggestion that 3e was going to have a rebrand for I’m a Celeb…. But this has yet to happen.

Other services

TV3’s online presence really only consists of the 3Player, with the rest of tv3.ie largely dedicated to Xposé or entertainment news. The Thread is a good idea but has yet to catch on it will be interesting to see how it develops. TV3's online sports and news service will have to improve and again this should have happened this year, particularly when you look at UTV's Northern Irish website.

TV3 +1 is expected to launch on UPC on the 1st of December, though maybe they should try a mixed TV3/3e service that might be able to also launch in the north. A similar style channel to 4Seven.