STV first-half revenue up 35% to £60.3m

STV CEO Simon Pitts

Glasgow-based media firm STV Group said on Thursday its first-half revenue was £60.3 million, up 35% on 2020 and up 10% on 2019.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 137% to £10.6 million in the six months to June 30, and the firm increased its interim dividend 23% to 3.7p per share.

STV said its advertising recovery continues, with total advertising revenue (TAR) up 32% in H1 and expected to be up 25%-30% for the nine months to end of September.

STV announced separately that STV Studios has taken an initial 25% stake in Brighton-based unscripted production firm Hello Mary, the company behind shows like “One Night Stand?”

STV CEO Simon Pitts said: “Ahead of expectations, STV has returned to pre-pandemic levels of growth and profitability, thanks to the strength of our programming, the success of our diversification strategy, and the commitment and creativity of our people.

“Our record viewing performance has continued into 2021, with TV audiences up 5% even on last year’s lockdown levels, and online viewing via STV Player up a further 66% thanks to huge audiences for Euro 2020, dramas like The Pembrokeshire Murders, and our increasingly popular Player-exclusive boxsets which now constitute over 40% of our on-demand viewing.

“This has driven a 32% advertising bounceback in the first half which is continuing into the autumn.

“Our strategy of creating a more diversified business through a relentless focus on digital and production growth is delivering.  

“STV Studios is going from strength to strength, winning 15 programme commissions so far this year, and we’re delighted to be filming new, large scale returnable formats in Scotland like drama series Screw (C4), quiz show The Bridge of Lies (BBC1) and the genre-bending Murder Island (C4), as we aim to become the UK’s leading nations and regions producer.

“Our high margin digital business continues to accelerate with streams nearly doubling so far this year and much more to look forward to for the remainder of 2021, with a new drama boxset drop on the STV Player every week, together with huge events like I’m a Celebrity and the return of the FA Cup.”