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STV Group PLC Trading Update

Posted: 16th July 2021

H1 2021 advertising growth ahead of expectations; further strategic momentum.


  • STV Group plc today announces that advertising trends continue to improve through 2021, with total advertising revenue (TAR) growth of +32% in the six months to June 2021 vs H1 2020, as a result of continued strong digital growth and an improving economic outlook.  Encouragingly, H1 TAR was up 5% on the same period in 2019, pre Covid.


  • STV-controlled advertising continues to outperform the wider market, with video on demand advertising on the STV Player up 62% in H1. Regional advertising revenues were up 27% in H1 following only a 5% decline across full year 2020.


  • STV’s record viewing performance has continued into 2021, with total TV viewing up a further 5% in H1. STV’s viewing share has also grown 1.6 points to 20.8% in H1 2021, the highest growth of any of the UK’s 500+ TV channels and STV’s biggest all time viewing share since 2006, further cementing our position ahead of BBC1 as the most watched TV channel in Scotland.


  • Online viewing was up 66% in H1 and streams up 94%, with STV Player still the fastest growing broadcaster streaming service in the UK.


  • June’s viewing and commercial performance was significantly boosted by STV’s exclusive coverage of the Euros, with the England-Scotland game delivering STV’s highest peaktime audience since records began (1.94m). Total streams across the tournament on STV Player were 3.9m, +70% on the World Cup 2018, with June streams overall up 163%. As a result, STV’s total advertising revenue in June was up over 100%, with VOD revenue up over 200% on 2020 levels, both representing strong growth on June 2019.


  • In terms of the outlook, STV expects July TAR to be up 35-45% year on year, again boosted by the Euros and the wider economy which continues to re-open. STV also has a strong autumn programme line-up on TV and online, with over 50 hours of new network drama, a threefold increase on autumn 2020.


  • STV’s digital strategy continues to accelerate, with STV Player today announcing its biggest ever content partnership, with Banijay Rights, which will see an additional 1200 hours of drama and factual content added to the Player over the next year including high end UK, Nordic, French and Australian drama series.


  • STV Studios’ commissioning momentum continues with the recent announcement of a new 25-episode quiz show for BBC1, The Bridge of Lies, which was secured after a competitive tendering process. It starts filming in Glasgow later this year and will be hosted by Ross Kemp.  Overall STV Studios remains on track to deliver its most successful year yet, with revenues of £20-25 million already secured for 2021.

Simon Pitts, STV Chief Executive, said:

“STV has made an excellent start to 2021, with our record TV and digital audiences powering advertising revenue growth of 32% in the first half of the year, ahead of market expectations, and 5% ahead of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

So far this year our audience share growth is the highest of any of the UK’s 500+ TV channels, total TV viewing is up 5% even compared to last year’s lockdown, and online viewing on STV Player is up a further 66%.

Euro 2020 has lifted spirits, broken hearts and delivered a record viewing and commercial performance for STV. Our coverage reached 3.6 million Scots and average streams per match on the STV Player were higher than for World Cup 2018, Euro 2016 and World Cup 2014 combined, helping to more than double our ad revenues in June.

We have plenty more to look forward to in 2021, with STV Studios on track to deliver its most successful year yet, hundreds of hours of unmissable drama set to drop on STV Player following today’s new partnership with Banijay Rights, plus 11 new network dramas this autumn including Manhunt series 2 starring Martin Clunes.”

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