STV revenues and pre-tax profits rise

Simon Pitts, chief executive at STV: 'Our goal is to be a real Scottish success story'. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Simon Pitts, chief executive at STV: 'Our goal is to be a real Scottish success story'. Picture: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
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STV has seen revenues rise on the back of its strongest viewing performance since 2009.

The broadcaster reported that total revenue increased 6 per cent in the six months to the end of June to £57.7 million, which it said reflected “good growth across all divisions – broadcast, digital and production”.

It reported digital revenue growth of 24 per cent, including a 61 per cent leap in revenue from its on-demand viewing service, while broadcast revenue rose 6 per cent.

The channel saw its strongest share of viewing since 2009, pulling in 18.7 per cent of audiences across its transmission area in north and central Scotland, 10 per cent higher than ITV.

STV said the rise was driven by a 73 per cent increase in online viewing via STV Player, fuelled by the World Cup, drama box sets and the soaps.

Pre-tax profits rose 8 per cent to £9.4m, however the group reported a statutory loss of £4.3m due to exceptional charges of £12.8m, including £5.6m in reorganisation costs relating to the closure of STV2.

STV said these costs were in line with the guidance given in its strategic growth plan, which began in May.

It confirmed an interim dividend of 6p per share and proposed a full-year payment of 20p per share, up 18 per cent year-on-year.

Chief executive Simon Pitts said the results demonstrated “encouraging” underlying growth, which he expected to continue for the full year.

He told The Scotsman: “We are making good progress with the plan we set out in May and we are confident that will continue.

“Our goal is to be a real Scottish success story.”

Pitts described digital as a “key area of focus” for the business moving forward. He added: “On demand viewing is going mainstream. 25 per cent of our online views are from people watching live TV while they’re on the move.”

The results come just a day after the firm announced it had signed a four-year deal with Virgin Media. The agreement will see Virgin TV customers in Scotland having access to fully regionalised versions of STV in high definition for the first time.

Pitts said: “We have signed a valuable, long-term partnership with Virgin Media and we are delighted to be expanding the range of programming available on STV Player through new, innovative content partnerships.”

The firm will also be looking to grow its production arm, with a new managing director of production to be confirmed later this month.

STV Productions generated £3.7m in revenue, up 42 per cent from 2017, which the company expects to rise to more than 50 per cent over the full year, thanks to its new Edinburgh-based drama for BBC One, The Victim.