Record STV Player deal promises 1,200 hours of 'high-end drama and compelling factual series': Euros ad boost

Scottish broadcasting group STV has hailed the biggest-ever content deal for its video-on-demand streaming service.

Some 1,200 hours of drama and factual content will be added to the free STV Player platform as part of a major deal with Banijay Rights.

The Glasgow-based media group said the new content will be dropped on the platform over the next 12 months and will primarily comprise “high-end drama and compelling factual series from around the world”.

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The first batch is due to go live in early August and will include titles such as Scandi-noir thriller Beck; French murder mystery Malaterra, based on the successful British series Broadchurch; and two acclaimed Australian series, The Time of our Lives and Tangle, which both focus on the “trials and tribulations of chaotic Melbourne families”.

STV Group chief executive Simon Pitts: 'STV has made an excellent start to 2021, with our record TV and digital audiences powering advertising revenue growth of 32 per cent in the first half of the year.' Picture: Laurence Winram Studio
STV Group chief executive Simon Pitts: 'STV has made an excellent start to 2021, with our record TV and digital audiences powering advertising revenue growth of 32 per cent in the first half of the year.' Picture: Laurence Winram Studio

The deal also brings more big names to the streaming service, including Olivia Colman and Vanessa Redgrave (who both star in The Thirteenth Tale), Frank Grillo and Nick Jonas (Kingdom) and Rowan Atkinson (The Thin Blue Line).

Richard Williams, managing director, digital at STV, said: “As STV Player has continued to grow its audience across the country, we’ve gained a clearer idea of what our viewers want from the service. This significant deal with Banijay taps right into that, with hundreds of hours of unmissable drama set to drop on STV Player in the coming months.

“The video-on-demand world is constantly evolving and, as a relatively new player in this field, it’s important for us to have a niche.

“We’re delighted to be building our reputation as a free provider of big, star-studded dramas, along with popular overseas titles that viewers in the UK are unlikely to discover anywhere else.”

News of the content deal came as STV said its first-half advertising growth was ahead of expectations, aided by a Euro 2020 boost.

In a trading update to investors, the firm reported total advertising revenue growth of 32 per cent in the six months to June, compared with a year earlier, as a result of continued strong digital growth and an improving economic outlook.

STV-controlled advertising is continuing to outperform the wider market, it noted, with video-on-demand advertising on the STV Player up 62 per cent in the first half.

Regional advertising revenues were up 27 per cent in the period following a modest 5 per cent decline across full year 2020.

Chief executive Simon Pitts said: “STV has made an excellent start to 2021, with our record TV and digital audiences powering advertising revenue growth of 32 per cent in the first half of the year.

“Euro 2020 has lifted spirits, broken hearts and delivered a record viewing and commercial performance for STV.”

Roddy Davidson, analyst as joint house brokerage Shore Capital, noted: “We are greatly encouraged by the strong trading momentum and strategic and operational progress described in this update, which adds to our positive assessment of STV’s organic growth potential and fundamental attractions.

“Specifically, we would highlight the presence of an experienced and entrepreneurial management team, the opportunity to build on its dominant position in Scotland, exposure to strengthening advertising spend, robust financials and the potential to deliver transformational growth by tapping into strong demand in digital and content production as key positives.”

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