STV assures that Edinburgh TV launch on track

Rob Woodward was upbeat about STV's performance. Picture: John Devlin

Rob Woodward was upbeat about STV's performance. Picture: John Devlin

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BROADCASTING and production group STV is on course to launch its local television service in Edinburgh early next year, while other parts of the business continue to trade up to expectations.

National advertising revenues during the ten months to the end of October were 6 per cent higher on the same period in 2013, the company said in its interim trading statement yesterday, and that is expected to remain the case for the full year.

Regional airtime revenues were also up 6 per cent, and are expected to be up by 5 per cent for the full year.

On the production side, chief executive Rob Woodward highlighted last month’s commission for a third series of Catchphrase for ITV.

The Glasgow-based group’s production arm is targeting revenues of £16.8 million for the full year. “All areas of the business are continuing to make good progress and the digital business continues to grow with revenues expected to be up 15 to 20 per cent year-on-year,” Woodward noted.

“We look forward to further expanding our portfolio of consumer services with the launch of City TV in Edinburgh in January.”

STV launched its first city service earlier this year in Glasgow, where it reaches a monthly audience of more than 500,000 people. The company has applied to regulator Ofcom for further licences in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee.

Jane Anscombe, a research analyst with brokerage Edison Investment, said STV was on track to deliver on full-year expectations.

She added that the resumption of dividend payments reflected “management’s confidence in the business and its much-strengthened financial position”.

At its half-year results in August, STV doubled its planned interim dividend to 2p per share, equal to the whole of the dividend for 2013, its first pay-out since 2006. The company also signalled that further increases are in the pipeline.

Shares in the group fell 4.3 per cent to 353p.

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