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STV grows after a year of change

STV has reported its strongest share of viewing since 2009, with live simulcast streaming on the STV Player up 81%.

In the first annual report published after a refocusing of the business that saw the closure of its second channel and restructuring of its news service in 2018, the Scottish broadcaster said its total revenues were up 8%, while revenues at production arm STV Productions jumped 60%.

STV News At Six is now the most watched news programme in Scotland, according to the company, which operates the Channel 3 service in Central and Northern Scotland.

Usage of the STV Player is up 24% overall, with live streaming up 81%. It follows a rapid roll-out of the on-demand service across more devices and platforms.

There's still ongoing speculation that following a refocus on its core channel 3 service, video-on-demand and television productions, STV is getting ready for a potential takeover by ITV.

Overall, revenue reached £125.9m in 2018.

Simon Pitts, STV's Chief Executive Officer, said:
The results announced today show encouraging underlying growth across all of our key business areas in 2018. Total advertising revenue is up 4% on the back of STV’s strongest viewing performance in a decade. All age groups watched more STV in 2018, including the younger 16-34 audience, and online viewing via STV Player also gave us a significant boost fuelled by the football World Cup, the soaps, big entertainment shows like I’m a Celebrity and drama boxsets. 2018 was a year of significant change and progress at STV with a new team and organisation now fully in place and excellent early progress made with the implementation of our strategic growth plan. We have signed valuable, long-term partnerships with Virgin Media and Sky, improved the user experience and content of the STV Player, and now launched a new subscription service, STV Player+, to enter the fast-growing pay TV market for the first time. 
In programming, we are producing popular, peak-time series for the UK’s biggest broadcasters, have invested in our news operation and agreed new talent partnerships to strengthen our creative pipeline. Our exciting new Scottish drama series, The Victim, will hit screens shortly on BBC One.