TalkSport TalkSport: profit up six per cent despite absence of World Cup
The owner of national radio station TalkSport has claimed a record level of pre-tax profits in 2011, up 10 per cent to £23.3 million.

UTV Media, which owns the Channel 3 television licence in Northern Ireland, now makes 70 per cent of its profits from radio, after a seven-year programme to diversify beyond TV, the group said in its end-of-year results today.

Radio operating profit was up slightly year on year at £18.9 million, and television operating profit increased by 18 per cent to £6.5 million.

TalkSport saw a six per cent growth in operating profit at £12.4 million - despite the absence of the World Cup, which gave a significant boost to the station's performance in the previous year.

The group's local radio stations increased revenue. UTV said the trading environment "remained challenging" but that UK radio revenue was forecast to be up eight per cent in the first four months of 2012.

Across the whole group, revenue was up two per cent at £121.6 million. The group's net debt has been cut by almost 50 per cent reduction in three years.

UTV Media chief executive John McCann said: "I'm very pleased with the company's performance against what has remained a testing economic background.

"The strength of these numbers firmly reflects UTV's commitment to deliver innovative programming across platforms, driving audience share while at the same time effectively managing costs within the business and paying down our debt facilities.

"We remain committed to our strategy of delivering value through the development of a diversified portfolio of leading media assets. I am confident this foundation will see the business continue to perform into 2012."

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