STV profits rise sharply despite revenue drop

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STV head office in Pacific QuayImage source, Getty Images

STV saw profits rise sharply last year, despite recording a drop in overall revenue.

The Scottish commercial broadcaster said pre-tax profit rose from £1.9m in 2018 to £19m.

Total revenue fell by 2% to £123.8m against the background of a weak national advertising market, which dropped by 4%.

Meanwhile, overall advertising revenue grew by 2%, to £101.6m, thanks to strong regional and digital growth.

Its digital division saw revenue grow by 37%, to £13m, while regional advertising grew by 11%, bucking the trend across the wider UK advertising market.

The increase in total advertising revenue was offset by lower revenues in STV Productions of £13.7m.

The broadcaster said it was now the most popular peak-time channel in Scotland, beating BBC One for first time since 2013.

It also highlighted that STV News at Six had become the most watched news programme in Scotland.

'Outlook positive'

Meanwhile, online viewing was up by 23%, with VOD (Video On Demand) stream starts up by 37%.

Total STV Player registrations rose by 17% to 3.5 million, representing 80% of Scottish adults.

The results come in the wake of a new growth strategy, which has seen greater investment in programming and digital offerings.

Chief executive Simon Pitts said: "Despite uncertainty following the UK's exit from the EU and the coronavirus, we are positive about the outlook for 2020.

"We have made a strong start to the year on screen and online, in line with our expectations, and have an exciting programming line-up to look forward to, with the return of Saturday Night Takeaway, Britain's Got Talent and new dramas like Liar and Quiz all helping to drive viewing on STV and the STV Player."

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