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Creator / Virgin Media Television
aka: TV 3

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From left to right: Virgin Media Television, Virgin Media One, Virgin Media Two, Virgin Media Three, Virgin Media Sport, Virgin Media Player
Virgin Media Television (formerly TV3) is an Irish privately owned television company, who operate four channels. The original channel, Virgin Media One, launched on 20 September 1998 as TV3, becoming the country's first commercial broadcaster and a competitor for state broadcaster RTÉ. In 2015, they were acquired by telecommunications provider Virgin Media Ireland (formerly UPC Ireland).

Its origins lie in the establishment of TV3 Television Network Ltd in the early 1990s in response to the creation of the Independent Radio & Television Commission in October 1988. In 1990 following an invitation by the IRTC to seek interests from independent broadcasters, the consortium Tullamore Beta Ltd was formed to launch the Republic of Ireland's first independent channel. The launch was delayed, which led to the channel's licence being revoked. Following a court case, the licence was restored in 1993. It was agreed that 49% of the company would be sold to UTV, to raise much-needed funds for facilities. By 1995, UTV decided not to collaborate with Tullamore Beta and instead focused on making its own channels available through Irish digital TV providers. In 1997, Canadian communications company Canwest bought a major stake in TV3 in order to help launch the network.


Throughout its history, Virgin Media Television has been through several owners such as Canwest, Granada, ITV plc (formed by Granada's merger with Carlton), Doughty Hanson & Co and Virgin Media.

The company is noteworthy for going through two major rebrands in the space of a year - first when TV3 and 3e were relaunched alongside the newly launched be3 on January 9, 2017 and then when those three channels were rebranded Virgin Media One, Two and Three respectively on August 30, 2018.


Virgin Media One (formerly [=TV3)=]

The first and main television channel; it broadcasts a wide range of programming, relying heavily in its early years (and still now) on foreign shows. Notable original shows on this channel are:

  • Tonight with Vincent Browne: A news analysis, current affairs and politics programme that airs on Monday to Thursday nights and is hosted by the eponymous Vincent Browne. Browne is very well-known for being no-nonsense, straight-talking and abrasive style, especially when dealing with politicians who try and dodge his questions. He is famous for having caused various experienced politicians, such as Joan Burton and Conor Lenihan, to have embarrassing meltdowns live on air.
  • The 5.30: The news show that airs at 5.30pm. Its rival is the Six One, on RTÉ. Tends to be more American-style than its competitor, with fluff segments and "funny" anecdotes about waterskiing squirrels to finish.
  • MidWeek
  • Midday: A women's chat show at lunchtime.
  • IrelandAM : A morning show which has a combination of interviews, news and traffic reports.
  • Red Rock
  • The Six O' Clock Show: An early evening chat show that often doesn't necessarily start at six, depending on how long The 5.30 news runs on for.

Virgin Media Two (formerly 3e)

The second television channel, originally aimed at the 15–35 age group. It replaced a previous channel, Channel 6 (established 2006, acquired by TV3 in 2008) on January 5, 2009. From 2009-2017 they held the first-run rights to all three of Seth MacFarlane's cartoons in the Republic of Ireland. On January 9, 2017, 3e was retooled as an entertainment-oriented network aimed towards the 15–44 age group, showing mainly game shows like Tipping Point and reality shows like Love Island.

Virgin Media Three (formerly be3)

The third television channel. After it became clear that UTV Ireland was doomed, Virgin Media Television bought the channel in 2016 and rebranded it as the female-oriented be3 on January 9, 2017. However, this was not to last as the following year all three of TV3's channels were rebranded under the Virgin Media banner the following August. As Virgin Media Three, it airs mostly drama. It also shows kids' programmes in the morning (moved from 3e in 2017).

Virgin Media Sport

The fourth television channel, a subscription sports channel holding exclusive Irish rights to UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, launched on September 18, 2018. Available exclusively on Virgin Media's platform, though it was previously available on Eir and Sky until Eir refused to pay carriage fees.

Virgin Media Player (formerly 3player)

An on-demand/catch-up service which lets viewers watch programmes for up to 28 days after they are broadcast on Virgin Media Television's network, launched on October 8, 2011.

Alternative Title(s): TV 3