UTV is to launch a new TV channel in Ireland which will create more than 100 new jobs, it said this morning.
The new station will be based in Dublin with an additional presence in Cork, Galway, Waterford and Limerick.
The company said it will combine “high quality news, current affairs, entertainment and drama”, with the station expected to go on air early in 2015.
Parent company UTV Media said that an application to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) for a content provision contract will be submitted today by its subsidiary UTV Ireland Limited.
The announcement follows the signing of an agreement with ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which will give UTV the exclusive broadcasting rights for ITV Studios programmes for Ireland audience, including popular soaps Coronation Street and Emmerdale from early 2015.
Both soaps are currently shown in Ireland on TV3 and Coronation Street, in particular, is a huge audience draw.
John McCann, group chief executive of UTV Media, said: "The audience in Ireland has known the UTV brand for more than 50 years through our station for Northern Ireland and we're delighted to announce our plans for a new dedicated channel for viewers in the Republic of Ireland.”
UTV Media already employs more than 300 people in the Republic, including in a number of radio stations.
"Today's announcement represents a strong vote of confidence in Irish broadcasting and our investment in the Irish economy," said McCann.
The new channel will be available on “as many platforms as possible, subject to contract approval, with a catch up service also available online," said the statement.