STV Group records the strongest growth in turnover and operating profit ever

STV Group reported total revenue of £144.5m, up 35% from 2020 and 17% from 2019, reflecting “continued momentum” at STV studios and an advertising market “reborn”.

The Glasgow-based company’s annual results to 31 December 2021 also showed adjusted operating profit of £25.2m, up 39% on 2020 and 12% on 2019.

The board has therefore proposed a final dividend of 7.3p, bringing the full year to 11p – up 22% on 2020.

STV-controlled advertising continued to grow, with video-on-demand (VOD) advertising on the STV player up 38% over 2020 and regional advertising up 22% year-over-year .

Studio revenue tripled year-on-year to almost £27million.

Adjusted operating margin, up 0.5% from 2020 to 17.5%, reflects the benefits of the broader economic recovery in Scotland and tight cost management.

STV’s diversification plan “is ramping up”, with 36% of adjusted operating profit now coming from digital and Studios.

The group’s all-time audience share stood at 19.6% – up from 19.2% in 2020 – and the highest since 2008. STV remains the most-watched peak-time channel in Scotland, with a share of 22.2%.

The total number of online streams on the STV player has increased by 63% and it is still the fastest growing VOD service of UK broadcasters. STV Player’s content offering is growing, with 1,000 hours of new and acquired drama added in 2021, 31 new content offerings delivered and 173 new titles.

The STV Growth Fund attracted 85 new TV advertisers in 2021, taking the total to more than 320 since its launch, with the fund being raised to £30m for 2022 to support Scotland’s economic recovery.

STV Studios had its most successful year yet, with 16 new orders, 12 returning series and now seven returning series.

The group is now on track to meet its three-year growth targets in 2023 – still aiming to double digital viewing, users and revenue to £20m; quadruple studio revenue to £40m; and earn at least 50% of its operating profit outside of traditional broadcasting.

Chief Executive Simon Pitts said: “2021 has been a year of exceptional growth for STV, delivering the lowest revenue, operating profit and net debt ever.

“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 increasing streams by 63%, driven by huge viewership for new dramas and Euro 2020.

“This audience success propelled us to our highest ever ad revenue, up 24% from 2020 and 11% from 2019, with continued growth through 2022.

He continued, “Our strategy of building a more diverse media business by relentlessly focusing on digital streaming and growing production is paying off, with these new areas now accounting for 36% of our total profit.

“2022 has started well with a strong advertising performance in the first quarter, and we also have particularly good revenue visibility in Studios.

“It will also be our biggest year yet in terms of content, with over 150 hours of new original drama, 40% more than 2020, including Ipcress File and Our House with Martin Compston, followed by a extensive coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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