Hit shows propel STV to record revenue
STV’s highest viewing share since the financial crash helped propel the company to its highest ever advertising revenues and the company expects further growth this year.
The Glasgow-based broadcaster said total revenue came in at £144.5m, up 35% on 2020 and 17% on 2019, reflecting continued momentum in Studios and a resurgent advertising market.
It posted profit before tax of £20.1m against £6.7m in 2020 and £18.4m in 2019. Adjusted operating profit was £25.2m, 39% up on 2020 and 12% on 2019.
The board proposes a final dividend of 7.3p per share for 2021, giving a full year dividend of 11p per share, +22% on 2020.
Simon Pitts, chief executive, said: “2021 was an exceptional year of growth for STV which saw us deliver the highest revenue, operating profit and lowest net debt on record. We continue to support our people, partners and communities as we emerge from the pandemic with momentum and confidence.
“We are taking full advantage of the growth in video viewing, with STV recording its highest viewing share since 2008 and our streaming service STV Player growing streams by 63%, thanks to huge audiences for new dramas and Euro 2020. This viewing success propelled us to our highest ever advertising revenues, +24% on 2020 and 11% ahead of 2019, with growth continuing into 2022.
“Our strategy of creating a more diversified media business through a relentless focus on digital streaming and production growth is delivering, with these new areas now making up 36% of our total profit.
“We added 1000 hours of drama boxsets to STV Player and grew active users by 54%, with over a fifth of VOD streams now coming from outside Scotland. STV Studios enjoyed its best-ever creative and financial performance in 2021, winning 16 new programme commissions across the genres, with plenty more to come as we aim to become the UK’s leading nations and regions producer.
“2022 has started well with a strong advertising performance in the first quarter, and we also have particularly good revenue visibility in Studios.
“2022 will be our biggest year yet in terms of content, with over 150 hours of new, original drama, 40% more than 2020, including the Ipcress File and Our House starring Martin Compston, followed by extensive coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.
“These are clearly very unsettling times with the war in Ukraine, and any business implications obviously pale into insignificance against the humanitarian cost. STV has no exposure to trading with Russia and that will remain the case.”
STV Studios has acquired a minority stake in Glasgow and London-based, Mighty Productions. Through the deal, STV will have the opportunity to increase its position to a majority interest over time.
Mighty was created by Lynn Sutcliffe and Hugh Rycroft, who have been involved in developing and producing some of TV’s biggest hits including The Weakest Link, !mpossible and Tipping Point.
They have recently delivered a new quiz format for Channel 4 presented by Dara Ó Briain, called One and Six Zeros; are executive producers on an eight-part dating format for NBC Universal-owned streamer, Peacock, called Ex Rated; and have produced a raft of factual entertainment series for the BBC Scotland channel.
STV Studios also confirmed today the extension of its exclusive development and co-production deal with Tod Productions. Tod is owned by highly respected producer, Elaine Collins, who was responsible for hit detective drama, Vera, and BBC One drama, Shetland. The partnership was formed in 2017.