STV sees strong digital growth in ‘better than expected’ 2020

Scottish commercial broadcaster STV said it had come through 2020 with a “better than expected” performance as digital and VOD revenues grew, helping offset some of the impact of COVID-19 on advertising and plummeting revenue from its studios unit.

STV said that online viewing on STV Player was up 68%, making it the fastest growing UK VOD service.

Total streams were up 65% and monthly active users up 50% year on year, and player-exclusive content now accounts for a third of all digital viewing, including eight of the top 15 digital shows

The company said that digital revenues up 5%, with VOD revenues from STV Player up 12%.

Total advertising revenue was down 10%, with STV-controlled regional advertising down 5%, while Studios revenue down 36%, reflecting the pause in filming in 2020. However, STV said that the profit impact was almost fully mitigated by strong secondary sales

The broadcaster said that STV Player is now available on all major platforms UK-wide, and pre-installed in about 70% of the UK’s connected TV homes

It said that the player’s recent UK-wide Sky launch had seen STV streams treble so far in Sky homes, and pointed to major new content partnerships with Sony and eOne for 350 hours of drama boxsets, taking total digital-only content to over 3,000 hours.

The company said that STV Player had seen viewing in the first part of 2021 grow by 83%, with streams up 101%.

The broadcaster posted revenues of £107.1 million for the year, down 14%. Adjusted EBITDA was @23.8 million, also down 14%.

“STV is coming through the pandemic with confidence. With profit and net debt materially better than expectations, the 2020 financial results we are confirming today are testament to the strength of our business and the commitment and creativity of our people in what has been an extraordinary 12 months,” said CEO Simon Pitts.

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