STV revenue slips to £124m but profit rises to £21m

STV CEO Simon Pitts

Shares of Glasgow-based media firm STV Group plc rose about 7% on Tuesday after it said its 2019 adjusted profit before tax rose 11% to £21 million despite its revenue slipping 2% to £123.8 million.

Total advertising revenue grew 2% to £101.6 million.

Dividend per share rose 5% to 21p.

STV Group shares rose 7% to around 363p to give the firm a current stock market value of around £140 million.

STV Group CEO Simon Pitts said in a stock exchange statement: “In 2019 STV was the most popular peaktime channel in Scotland, ahead of BBC One for the first time in 6 years; our Growth Fund has now welcomed over 160 new advertisers to TV since launch, underpinning strong growth in regional revenues; and our digital streaming service STV Player launched on Sky and became universally available for the first time, helping to drive 37% growth in both streams and revenue.

“These factors contributed to a strong full year performance, with EPS also up 13% and operating margin up over 230 basis points to 18%.

“We continue to make excellent progress with our strategic growth plan and have laid solid foundations for future growth, including in STV Productions where 2019 saw a return to high-end drama for the first time in a decade with the critically acclaimed The Victim and Elizabeth is Missing for BBC One.

“We also made two exciting investments in entertainment and drama companies to significantly strengthen our creative pipeline.

“2020 has started with a range of new commissions and recommissions, including the biggest ever order for Antiques Road Trip and a new 10 part series for Discovery. 

“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.”