Investing in online and making television shows for other broadcasters is helping STV, the Scottish version of ITV, to grow at a time when the traditional ad market is set to stay flat over the medium term.
Revenues from programme-making jumped 20% last year, offsetting weakness in TV advertising and nudging up group sales to £102.7 million. STV has just picked up several new commissions, including a third series of BBC1’s Antiques Road Trip and a Jo Brand chat show for UKTV.
Chief executive Rob Woodward said the launch of ultra-local online television news services, aimed at small regions across Scotland, gave the company its highest audience share for news in a decade.
“Public service content is a key driver of traffic to our digital platforms with over one third of our monthly unique users consuming our news content,” he said, adding that it is bringing in “many new advertisers who have not previously considered STV”.
STV swung to a pre-tax profit of £9.1 million, after falling into the red a year earlier when it was hit by a legal dispute with ITV.