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TV3 is a free-to-air commercial television network in the Republic of Ireland. Launched on 20 September 1998 it was Ireland's first commercial broadcaster. The channel is owned by TV3 Group a subsidiary of Doughty Hanson & Co.

 The TV3 Group
The TV3 Group was established in January 2009. The network operates TV3 and its sister channel 3e and its online service tv3.ie. The networks studios is located at Ballymount, Dublin. TV3 was initially the first channel from the network launched in 1998. The network expanded in 2008 when TV3 purchased rival channel Channel 6 and rebranded the channel in January 2009 as 3e. In November 2008, tv3.ie website was rebranded, with the intention to develop it into an entertainment portal. Catch up facilities, as well as exclusive content is available for TV3 programming as are news, weather, sport and entertainment updates. In October 2011, 3Player a video-on-demand service was launched.


 Initial idea and setbacks

TV3, which was intended to be Ireland's third terrestrial channel, took almost ten years to bring from initial planning to debut. In October 1988 the Independent Radio and Television Commission was created to regulate new independent stations. The original TV3 licence to broadcast was granted in 1990 to a consortium including members of U2 and the owner of the Windmill Lane Studios where the group had made many of their records. Initially it was envisaged that the station would only broadcast on cable and MMDS but it was later decided that the station should broadcast on terrestrial UHF also. Because of delays in setting up the station, the licence was revoked by the IRTC. After a court battle, the licence was eventually restored in 1993.

At this stage, an agreement was made to sell 49% of the company to UTV, the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland, to raise much-needed cash for investment in facilities. However, as TV3 were trying to convince Irish cable and MMDS carriers to replace UTV with their channel, the new shareholders pulled out in 1995. Given that UTV had the third largest audience in the Republic, the carriers declined to drop them in favour of TV3. The result was that the project was on hold again. In 1997, CanWest, decided to step in and buy a major stake in the new company.

 Launch and development
TV3 finally took to the air on 20 September 1998 at 17:30. A preview of the station's programming formed the first half-hour of transmissions, followed by the first TV3 News at 18:00.
TV3 was the fourth national station to be launched in Ireland; after RTÉ One in 1961 (as Teilifís Éireann), RTÉ Two in 1978 and TG4 in 1996 . It was the first Irish station which was not publicly funded.

TV3's initial on-air branding referred to the station as 'tvthree', although this was part of the corporate logo up to 2009 it was dropped from their on-screen brand in 2001. The Schoolhouse Rock! song, "Three Is A Magic Number", was the station's theme tune, played every day during start-up and close-down.

In September 2000, Granada Media plc agreed to acquire 45% of the company from the original TV3 consortium. This was part of deal which gave TV3 the right to simulcast with ITV certain Granada programming. The Granada plc shareholding was taken over by ITV plc upon the merger of Granada with Carlton on 2 February 2004.

In early 2001, the station officially launched threetext, the teletext service, much of the content from Thomas Crosbie Media. Test transmissions of this service commenced in late 2000, but as early as 1999 limited programming content was provided. However, in 2004, the news and sports were dropped as part of a rebranding to an 'entertainment portal'.

On 16 January 2006, Canwest announced to TV3 staff, that it was selling its stake in the channel, in an effort to reduce its debt, resulting in it leaving the European market. A purchaser for this stake for (for €103 million), rights to buy ITV Plc's stake (for €103 million), and the remaining 10% (for €59 million) was announced on 19 May as Doughty Hanson & Co, a venture capital firm.

The channel began broadcasting in widescreen format on Sky Ireland from 6 March 2006 and subsequently on UPC in 2007.

In January 2009 TV3 relaunched under the corporate name of The TV3 Group . The TV3 Group consists of TV3, 3e and tv3.i.e.

  • Analogue rollout

Upon its launch in 1998, TV3 utilized the existing RTÉNL main transmitter masts around the country. It also utilizes three relay services located in Cork City and Limerick City. Availability of TV3 in some rural areas has been limited as TV3 have failed to invest in relay stations for most notably in County Donegal, County Kerry and County Cork. Many rural areas are reliant on satellite reception to receive TV3 via Sky Ireland, this option requires a subscription service. Effectively, TV3 is now available to 98% of homes through Saorview and Saorsat. Similar to other broadcasters in Europe, TV3 will cease broadcasting on analogue from December 2012 or thereafter.
  • DTT Roll-Out

In October 29, 2010, as Ireland moved towards full integration of digital terrestrial television through Saorview. Both TV3 and its sister channel 3e have been available on test trials of Saorview since October 29, 2010. As of May 2011 both channels are now available to 98% of the population.

Between 2008 and 2010, with the development of digital terrestrial television within the Republic of Ireland. The TV3 Group had ambitions to play a significant role in helping to develop the pay television element of DTT in Ireland. TV3 Group helped to shape a consortium known as One Vision which was also made up of Arqiva, Eircom and Setanta Sports. OneVision submitted its proposal to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland . Initially, Onevision was unsuccessful at gaining the opportunity to operate the pay television element of Ireland's national DTT service. Negotiations between Boxer TV and BCI failed and on May 1, 2009 Fintan Drury, chairperson of the OneVision consortium announced that OneVision was to enter negotiations with the BCI with the view to take over operations of the pay DTT service. It was later confirmed on April 29, 2010 that the consortium had pulled out of negotiations with the BAI. As of 2011, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland have restarted negotiations to find a suitable service provider for the forthcoming pay DTT service. This service is not expected to launch until late 2012 or thereafter.

  • Additional Channels

TV3 Group initially proposed to launch two channels to appear on the OneVision pay television service. These channels included a news and current affairs channel called 3TODAY and a channel skewed towards women called 3XPOSÉ/. Onevision withdrew from offering the pay television element to Ireland's digital terrestrial television Saorview after negotiations with the BAI failed due to difficulties with the terms of RTÉ NL apparently regarding multiplexing, marketing for DTT and other issues. The 3Today service was expected to appear on the Onevision DTT service. The channel was expected to air both Irish and international bespoke programing in current affairs as well as drama, comedy and documentary titles from some of the world’s best

As of August 2011, it has now emerged that TV3 propose to launch three new channels in late 2012, which vary from their original plans. The first channel is TV3 HD which will air TV3 content in high-definition. TV3 confirmed its plan to build a new HD studio in 2011. The new studio will be used to provide new programming in HD and it will also allow independent companies to make use of the new studios also., TV3+1 which will act as a timeshift channel to TV3. 3 Kids which will air programming aimed at 4-12 year olds and 3 Classics a channel which focuses on Irish documentaries and film. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland suggests that these channels will launch in October 2012 before ASO/DSO takes place.

 Product Placement

Product Placement within Irish produced programming had previously been banned by broadcasting authorities in Ireland, though in the past Irish viewers have been used to product placement as seen on US television and film productions. Due to an EU ruling made in 2007, Irish broadcasters can now place products within programming mainly entertainment shows, though excludes progamming which is deemed mainly 'news and current affairs' and programming aimed at children. On August 15, 2011 it was confirmed that TV3 would become the first official broadcaster to implement the new broadcasting terms. Kenco Coffee reportedly payed TV3 Group a six-figure sum to place their branding on two key early morning television shows mainly, The Morning Show and Midday from September 2011. Similar to RTE and TG4 broadcasters will have to air a logo 'PP' at the beginning and end of the show to inform viewers that products will appear on the show. RTE Television has previously used Product Placement on its series The Late Late Show.

 TV3 iPhone App
On Friday, 24 September 2010 TV3 launched its iPhone application. The service costs €1.59 to download and offers TV3 viewers the opportunity to watch TV3 content including news, showbiz and sport. It also supplies audiences with an on-demand catch-up service which allows its viewers to watch streamed content.

TV3's Video on Demand relaunched on Saturday, October 8, 2011.3Player replaces the original TV3 Catch-Up service previously available at tv3.ie and through its iPhone/iPad app. The new service was revealed at a press call on Friday, October 7, 2011. It is estimated by the TV3 Group that the service will be worth about €7.5 million by 2015. 3Player is in HTML5 format which makes it available on the majority of operating systems.

 2011 UEFA Europa League Final
A milestone in TV3 broadcasting history came with coverage of the 2011 UEFA Europa League Final, held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. 40 cameras were used to broadcast to an audience in the tens of millions.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "TV3 (Ireland)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.