Scottish viewers promised ‘huge array’ of new drama for free after STV content deal

Glasgow-headquartered broadcasting group STV has agreed an “enhanced” content sharing partnership with ITV that it believes will meet the viewing needs of the streaming age.

The “long-term” agreement will see STV’s streaming service, STV Player, take exclusive Scottish rights for a range of ITVX original and premiere content over the coming years. This includes UK original dramas A Spy Among Friends and The Confessions of Frannie Langton, both launching with immediate effect on the ITVX video-on-demand service and STV Player, and other titles such as Nolly, starring Helena Bonham Carter as the iconic soap star Noele Gordon, and Litvinenko, starring David Tennant in the title role. The partnership is expected to encompass at least 100 hours of original content per year.

Under the strategic partnership, ITV’s sales team will take on exclusive responsibility for selling all digital video-on-demand and simulcast advertising inventory on STV Player from 2023, while STV will also join ITV’s advertising platform, Planet V, which is said to be already used by “all the major advertising agencies”.

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The new arrangements build on the broadcasting groups’ existing contractual relationships which remain in place. Under these arrangements, ITV will continue to represent STV for regular national advertising and STV will continue to be responsible for all Scottish advertising. STV Player will continue to be available to viewers across the UK with its “extensive” library of third-party content.

Simon Pitts, chief executive of STV, said: “This exciting new partnership significantly strengthens STV and ITV’s digital businesses for the streaming age. It’s great news for Scottish viewers who will be able to access a huge array of new UK original content for free on STV Player, starting today with the brilliant A Spy Among Friends starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce, followed by David Tennant in the gripping drama Litvinenko. Scottish advertisers will also benefit from a ‘one stop shop’ of mass audiences and the best in data-driven targeting.”

Kelly Williams, ITV’s managing director, commercial, said: “ITV and STV have been close partners for over 50 years and this new deal makes that partnership fit for the digital age. STV joining ITV’s addressable advertising platform Planet V is an important step in the development of the platform which is already used by all the major advertising agencies.”

Roddy Davidson, an analyst at Shore Capital, which acts as joint broker to STV, said: “We are pleased to see these developments which we regard as strategically positive and a timely extension of the very successful longstanding commercial partnership between STV and ITV as they seek to maximise the commercial value of their unrivalled mass market reach and embrace the opportunities to monetise high-quality content created by evolving viewing habits.”

Johnathan Barrett at Panmure Gordon noted: “This is an excellent extension of the existing sales partnership and should drive additional scale benefits for STV. While the macro backdrop may be creating trading volatility, strategic development of this nature will help optimise STV’s positioning in the more-robust quality end of the market that will help near term and create long-term value.”

A Spy Among Friends forms part of the new content that will be available following the enhanced streaming agreement between STV and ITV.

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