Viewer growth to help boost STV firepower

Scottish broadcaster STV is expected to report that it is continuing to outpace rivals on growth in advertising revenues when it reports first-half figures this week.

Analysts believe a strong performance will mean it is on track to hit its medium-term targets of doubling digital viewers to five million and quadrupling production revenues to £40 million.

Strong cash-generation will also help the company clear its debts, providing firepower to fund content-production acquisitions and investments.

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The Glasgow-based group has already flagged that advertising growth in the first half was ahead of expectations, aided by a Euro 2020 boost.

Broadcaster STV has had a strong first half of the year, helped by the Euro 2020 championships. Picture: Graeme Hunter.
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Total advertising revenue grew by 32 per cent as a result of continued strong digital growth and an improving economic outlook.

STV-controlled advertising outperformed the wider market, with video-on-demand advertising on the STV Player platform 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.

House broker Shore Capital is now forecasting growth in earnings per share of 12 per cent in the current financial year.

Shore said it regards STV as a “very well-managed, entrepreneurial business with strong momentum” and believes fair value for its shares is 516p, more than 40 per cent higher than current levels.

Last month, STV's Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow changed hands as part of a series of multi-million-pound property investment deals. The media studios and HQ facility have been acquired by stock market listed LXi Reit, which is one of several quoted real estate investment trusts, in an off-market transaction. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

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