Production restarts

STV upbeat and adds Barefaced TV after loss

Simon Pitts

Simon Pitts: record audience growth

STV said trading has improved in recent weeks and it has added Barefaced TV to its portfolio after the lockdown saw it fall to a £4.9 million half year loss from a £9.1m profit last time.

Adjusted profits before tax, which is before exceptionals, fell 56% to £4.4m (£10.1m).

Total advertising revenue was down 20%, with national down 23% and regional impacted to a lesser extent, down 18% Group revenues are down 19% at £44.7m (£54.9m).

However, the Glasgow-based broadcaster said advertising trends have improved materially over the summer, with total advertising revenue down 7% in July and up 1% in August. Regional revenue returned to growth in July and August, with VOD also growing again in August.  STV’s digital business is expected to continue to grow strongly.

The production hiatus caused by Covid-19 will impact revenue rather than profitability in 2020, with £15 to £20m of commissions already secured for 2021. All STV programmes are now back in production under new safety protocols.

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The company was confident enough to declared an nterim dividend of 3p per share to be satisfied by way of a bonus issue of new ordinary shares.

Digital revenues are up 5%, with VOD revenue from STV Player +13%.

Studios revenue was down 17% reflecting the pause in filming in Q2, but profit impact wholly mitigated by strong secondary sales and cost savings.

New label added to studios

STV Studios has added a new label to its portfolio, factual entertainment producer, Barefaced TV.

Founded by Rosie Bray and Lucy Golding in 2017, Barefaced TV has already built a reputation for original and surprising content.  Its most recent production is Channel 4’s Naked Beach, an ambitious format which was one of Channel 4’s top ten new factual entertainment 8pm series launches in 2019 and has sold well internationally, including a US option and a German remake.

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