STV profits up as broadcaster looks to the future

Television and news group says it is on course to diversify and grow in 2020.

STV profits up as broadcaster looks to the future STV

STV has recorded a surge in profits on the back of strong advertising revenues and programme making.

The commercial broadcaster saw pre-tax profits rise from £1.9m in 2018 to £19m last year.

And operating profit increased by 13% to £22.6m – the highest level in over a decade.

Advertising revenue was up 2% to £101.6m at a time when national advertising is down.

Meanwhile, digital revenues leapt by 37% to £13m in 2019 from £9.8m the year before. Total overall revenue fell by 2% to £123.8m.

Looking ahead, STV said it was on course to “diversify” income further in 2020.

A third of revenue is set to come from outside traditional television advertising this year.

On air, all time viewing share was maintained at a ten-year high of 17.7%.

STV is now the best watched peak-time channel in Scotland, beating BBC One for first time since 2013.

STV News at Six is now the most-watched news programme in Scotland.

The group also saw strong growth in STV Player and STV Productions, including recommissions for programmes such as Antiques Road Trip and Inside Central Station.

Simon Pitts, STV’s chief executive officer, hailed the performance and said the company was in a strong position going forward.

He said: “An operating profit increase of 13% when national advertising revenues are down illustrates our growing resilience and the exciting growth potential of our regional, digital and production businesses.”

He added: “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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