Ireland's Reinvigorated Media Industry

If recent investment into media in this country is a barometer, the temperature is rising. I’ve noticed a renewed energy behind many media suppliers. They are not just talking the talk but investing heavily and reinventing their offering. Perhaps it’s the onslaught of more competition and fragmentation in the marketplace but in any case, it’s welcomed with open arms.

The shape of the TV marketplace is garnering much attention and one wonders how the market will look in 18 months’ time. UTV Ireland is working hard behind the scenes to launch a really impressive schedule from the get-go in January. We can expect a mix of Irish news, acquired documentaries and the ITV soaps. Meanwhile RTE will be closely guarding their ‘current affairs’ trump card & won’t be pushed over easily. The RTE newsroom unveiled more contemporary news bulletins at the end of April. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of RTE’s talent jump ship.

TV3 had to respond to the loss of Coronation St, Emmerdale & the rights to the GAA and did so in style yesterday at the launch of their 2015 programme schedule. It was explained the ITV soaps were “loss leaders” and by freeing up that budget it will allow significant investment in home-produced originated content. With the breath of TV stations on our EPG consumers don’t want Irish stations to be a derivative of the UK channels. TV3 needs originated local content to prosper. They have an exciting  new twice weekly soap in development called Red Rock and have bought the rights to make an Irish version of Channel 4 TV show, Gogglebox. Their new talent roster includes David McWilliams, Jason Byrne & Matt Cooper, who will anchor the 2015 Rugby World Cup coverage. They are looking to develop and export more shows to a global audience, similar to how they sold Keith Barry’s Brain Hacker to 76 countries.

Radio stations are not resting on their laurels either. Cork’s Red FM took a good look in the mirror and has repositioned itself to reach a broader 25-34 year old audience. It has reinvented itself to become Cork’s new Red FM. Their two big new appointments of KC from Today FM and Neil Penderville, a veteran for 20 years on the rival Cork’s 96FM, promise to really shake up the Cork market. Today FM re-launched a younger cousin, TXFM and 2FM reacted to its poor performance with a complete overhaul of its schedule.

In the world of Outdoor, Exterion Media are transforming the DART line and train stations with a complete upgrade of the old, dilapidated inventory to slick Rail dPods and Commuter Squares. Dublin Bus will create a stir this winter when they introduce the hugely-anticipated illuminated formats on the exterior of their bus fleet. Clearchannel are investing in Digital too by providing a permanent mobile platform on two thousand Adshels. By holding a mobile phone (iPhone or android) to this device, NFC and a QR tag could push to a money off coupon, drive downloads of a video, increase competition entries, etc. Don’t expect massive levels of interaction but it has potential to get the deeper engagement that every brand craves.

Carlton Screen rebranded to Wide Eye Media to target younger cohort and to mark a €2 million investment in the full digitisation of their network. These are just a few changes we are witnessing but they are very positive indicators of the reinvigorated media marketplace that’s more attuned to the needs of our clients.