UTV Media, the broadcaster behind TalkSport and Northern Irish broadcaster UTV, has seen its pre-tax profits rise by 3% during the first half of the year.

The company saw pre-tax profits rise from £10.9m during the same period last year to £11.2m, this year. Group revenue also grew by 4% from £59.1m in 2011 to £61.6.

The radio division’s profits grew by 14% to £10m from £8.8m, which was offset by a reduction in television and new media operating profits of £2.1m and £0.6m respectively.

TalkSport, the commercial sports station, saw its revenue grow by 16% from £14.8m to £17.2m.

It has recently secured a number of football rights packages that include the international audio rights to the next four seasons of the Premier League and the international and domestic radio rights for the FA Cup.

Despite a challenging ad revenue market in Ireland - estimate to be down by as much as 10% in the first half of the year - strong audiences in urban areas meant that on a like-for like-basis revenue increased by 4%.

Net ad revenue from the TV division was down 3%, underperforming in comparison to the ITV network which was flat.  Advertising revenue from London was in line with ITV1 network, while revenue from Ireland was down by 8%. Total revenue was down 2% from £16.9m.

In March, social media company Simply Zesty was acquired by UTV for £1.7m and as a result the broadcaster’s new media turnover frew from £5.8m to £6m.

Chairman Richard Huntingford said: “The Group has a high quality portfolio of leading media assets in radio, television and digital media that enjoy strong competitive positions in their respective markets.

“In addition, it has a highly committed and motivated management team, led by John McCann, with both a strong track record of industry out-performance and a keen focus on financial discipline.

“The Group generates strong cashflows from its businesses – even in the most difficult of trading conditions for media companies – which it has sensibly deployed to strengthen significantly its balance sheet over the recent past, whilst also maintaining a dividend return for its shareholders.”

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