UBC Media Group

UBC Media Group began as the Unique Broadcasting Company founded in 1989. In June 2014 the company merged with 7digital to form a global digital music and radio platform. The new company is called 7digital Group Plc.

UBC Media Group
Public (LSE: UBC)
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Key people
Simon Cole, Chief Executive
Tim Blackmore, Group Editorial Director
ProductsTV and Radio services
Number of employees
90 (2008)


UBC (Unique Broadcasting Company) was founded by Simon Cole and Tim Blackmore in 1989.[1]

Cole is Chief Executive, having started out as a trainee at the BBC and developed national sponsored programmes whilst at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester.

Blackmore is the Group Editorial Director, and has a background in radio production with BBC Radio One and Capital Radio. He is a Fellow of The Radio Academy.[2]


UBC bought the Classic Gold Digital Network which includes digital and analogue licences from GWR Group in two separate transactions in 2000 and 2002 for about £2m. In 2007, UBC effectively sold them back for £3.95m to GCap Media - the company created from the merger of GWR Group and Capital Radio Group.

In July 2006, as part of UBC's move away from owning radio stations, it sold its share in Digital News Network (DNN) for £66k.

In December 2007, UBC bought the remaining 51% stake in Oneword Radio from Channel Four Television for £1, and then closed the loss-making speech DAB radio station one month later.[3]

In May 2008, UBC announced its Commercial Division was being bought by the American company, GTN for £15 million. The deal was expected to complete around the end of July 2008;[4] a definitive agreement was announced in February 2009.[5]

In June 2008, UBC announced it was closing down its loss-making venture Cliq, a service which allowed DAB listeners to download music onto their mobile phones. The system was designed to be implemented on DAB-enabled mobile phones, but few manufacturers have been interested in adding DAB to their handsets.

Two years on, and the company pulled out of DAB by selling its 7.5% stake in MXR Digital.[6] The stake was bought by fellow shareholder Guardian Media Group for £136,000 plus a one-off cash dividend payment from MXR of £52,000.

The move is part of UBC's strategy to focus on the production of content and the development of interactive software. As part of the agreement, UBC was also released from its spectrum contracts that were due to run until 2015 with MXR. This enabled UBC to release circa £400,000 of provision which had been made to cover this contract.

Divisions and Services

UBC Group has two divisions:

1) Broadcast Division

UBC produces Commissioned programming to the BBC via its production companies:

The company also produces Digital Content in the form of podcasts for various clients, while Unique Facilities offers in-house and outside broadcast production facilities from its base near Marylebone, London.

2) Digital Division

Unique Interactive produces software including:

  • ManDLS - a system which updates the text on DAB sets
  • EPG - an Electronic Programme Guide for DAB for EPG-capable devices


Before the sale of its Networked Programming division, UBC's business model relied heavily on providing content to commercial radio based on so-called “Barter syndication”, effectively giving content to stations in exchange for selling some of their advertising airtime. But as revenues from radio advertising slumped, so did the group's profitability. UBC’s post-tax operating loss for the year (2006–2007) was £1.26 million (compared to £193,000 in 2005-2006).

The company is focussing on reducing costs and increasing profitability by ditching its digital radio stations and concentrating on providing content.[7]


  1. "UBC Media Group - Board of Directors". UBC Media Group. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
  2. The Radio Academy "Fellows" Archived 2014-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "UBC Media Group - Press Release on closure of Oneword". UBC Media Group. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  4. "UBC Media Group - Press Release on buyout by GNET". UBC Media Group. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  5. "GTN announces definitive agreement to acquire Commercial Division of UBC Media". GTN. Retrieved 2009-03-12.
  6. "UBC Pulls Out of MXR Digital". Radio Today. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  7. "UBC Media Group - Press Release on closure of Cliq". UBC Media Group. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
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