Sex drama among seven new titles on STV Player after deal with Sony Pictures

Seven international drama titles will be added to STV’s streaming service after a new deal between the Scottish broadcaster and Sony Pictures.

The Glasgow-based group’s first content deal of 2022 will see the addition of the critically-acclaimed dystopian thriller The Commons, starring Joanne Froggatt, who has featured in Downton Abbey.

The eight-part series is set in Australia in the near future as the devastating impact of climate change is taking hold. It follows a neuropsychologist who is desperate to become a mother at a time when bringing a child into the world is far more complicated than it used to be.

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Also coming to the STV Player platform as part of the deal with Sony Pictures Television are all four series of Michael Sheen-starring period drama, Masters of Sex.

Coming to the STV Player platform as part of the deal with Sony Pictures Television are all four series of Michael Sheen-starring period drama, Masters of Sex.

The American series, which earned Sheen a Golden Globe best actor nomination, also stars Lizzy Caplan (Inside Job) and Allison Janney (The West Wing). It tells the true story of sexual research pioneers William H Masters and Virginia E Johnson.

The five other new drama series in the content deal are Necessary Roughness, The Art of More, The Player, Sequestered and The Mob Doctor.

All of the titles will be available to viewers across the UK, following STV Player’s launch on all major platforms in 2020.

Richard Williams, managing director of digital at STV, said: “High-quality international drama is in STV Player’s DNA, so we’re delighted to be adding even more critically-acclaimed series to the platform as part of this wide-ranging new deal with SPT.

“As a relatively new player in the UK streaming industry, building strong connections with our growing audience is critical for us. We’re achieving this by regularly adding new high-quality content - like the fantastic titles in the SPT deal - whilst always working closely with our platform partners, and continually updating our product to enhance the user experience.”

The latest deal follows what has been described as a “pivotal year” for STV Player, with the platform’s “exceptional performance” ensuring it remained the UK’s fastest-growing broadcaster streaming service. There were 173 new titles added throughout 2021 and, for the first time, STV Player was nominated in the best on-demand service category at the Edinburgh TV Festival Awards.

At the start of December STV said it was on track for a record year in advertising after a better-than-expected recovery from the depths of the pandemic.

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In a trading update to investors, the group said total advertising revenue for the full year was up between 22 and 24 per cent on 2020. The fourth-quarter performance had been stronger than expected, despite tough comparators, the firm added.

The 2021 advertising performance would represent growth of more than 10 per cent compared to financial year 2019, pre-pandemic.

The group also announced that its STV Growth Fund would be increased from £20 million to £30m in 2022. Since launch in 2018, the fund has allocated £15.7m across more than 700 deals with Scottish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), attracting in excess of 300 new advertisers to television.

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