STV began 2020 as Scotland’s most watched peak time TV station but its popular position has been further strengthened during lockdown. Year on year, the Scottish broadcaster is significantly growing its viewing share across all time and peak time viewing, as well as delivering growth on its streaming service, the STV Player.
Scots have been avidly watching more TV during lockdown, now spending five and a half hours in front of a TV screen per week - an hour more than pre-lockdown, with 70% of this being broadcast TV.  This increase in available audience alongside a strong schedule has helped STV deliver the highest year-on-year growth in audience volume of any Public Service Broadcaster in the UK, double the rate of growth of the ITV Network and four times the growth rate of BBC1 Scotland.
Highlights include:
  • STV’s overall audience share is the highest it has been since 2008 – the channel’s best performance in over a decade.
  • It remains Scotland’s most watched peak time station and across the top ten commercial channels - STV’s peak audience is bigger than all the other channels combined.
  • Year to date, STV saw audiences grow by 13% year on year. During lockdown, this figure has risen to 29%, with uplifts across all day parts and demographics. Most notably, the 16-44 audience has increased by 29%, and the ‘main shoppers with children’ group is up by 60%.*   
  • STV’s weekday daytime viewing audience has grown by 21% since lockdown, overtaking BBC1.  This is largely driven by This Morning, which has doubled its audience year on year during this time.
  • Across 2020, STV News at Six continues to be the best watched news programme in Scotland, now regularly achieving ratings of more than half a million.  Year on year, the audience has grown by 21%.  New Ofcom research has confirmed that STV is the most trusted TV channel in Scotland for coronavirus news and information**; and the news team in the north last week won the RTS Scotland Award for Best News programme.
Moreover, STV is delivering unrivalled mass audiences in Scotland.  Of the programmes delivering more than half a million viewers so far on lockdown, STV has delivered more than any other channel – twice as many as BBC1 and 18 times that of Channel 4.  Shows like Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, Britain’s Got Talent, dramas Quiz and Van der Valk all made the top ten best watched shows broadcast during lockdown.   
In terms of On Demand, the STV Player continues a pattern of strong growth, with streams up 70% year on year. With new titles being added each month, the Player now offers 2000 hours of programming, including over 50 box sets, archive and regional titles.  Some of the newly acquired Player exclusive content is in the top ten most-watched shows this past month, including the US version of Broadchurch, Gracepoint – starring David Tenant; and Australian legal dramas, Janet King and Crownies – not to mention STV classic, Take the High Road, which is providing a much needed nostalgia hit for many viewers at this time.
On the company’s viewing performance, STV’s CEO Simon Pitts, said:
“Naturally, TV viewing has increased hugely during lockdown as people seek out news and much needed entertainment whilst staying at home in these challenging times. We were pleased with our ratings pre-lockdown but the increase in available audience, coupled with a strong schedule and Player offering, has boosted our audience significantly.
“What’s been great to see is an increase in people across all ages watching more live television, as the nation comes together to watch TV events.  For example, Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway, adapted for social distancing and filmed without a studio audience, has been the most popular show of lockdown on STV so far, as it brought people together to share a laugh with familiar faces.  We’ve also added a wide range high quality titles to the STV Player, including drama from around the world, documentaries, entertainment and sport, to make sure there is something for everyone to enjoy.”
During lockdown, STV has also gifted £1m of TV airtime to celebrate small businesses and charities helping Scotland’s most vulnerable; and is raising funds via the STV Children’s Appeal Emergency Coronavirus Campaign, to help young people and their families most impacted by the pandemic.
For more information, please contact Kirstin Stevenson on 07803 970106 or email

Notes to Editors

*STV Audience growth during lockdown has been across all day parts and all key audiences
 yr on yr yr on yr since lockdown
A4+13% 29%
Adults12% 28%
Main shoppers11% 25%
Main shoppers with Children18% 60%
ABC1 Adults12% 33%
C2DE Adults12% 25%
Men16% 34%
Women10% 24%
A16-442% 29%
A45+15% 27%

** details below