Diversification strategy delivers continued growth

  • Strong financial performance, with revenue and profit both up on record 2021
  • Diversification strategy continues to deliver, with Studios revenue +16%, VOD advertising revenue +16% and regional advertising revenue +11%
  • Shape of advertising performance broadly as expected in H1, despite ongoing economic uncertainty, with Total Advertising Revenue (TAR) + 4% (+9% vs 2019)
  • STV had a higher audience reach in Scotland than all subscription (SVOD) services combined in the first half
  • STV remains Scotland’s most popular peak time channel for the 4th year in a row
  • STV Player active users +7% and VIP users +37%
  • STV Studios continues to scale rapidly, with a record 25 new commissions in H1
  • Board proposes interim dividend of 3.9p, +5% on 2021

Financial Summary – 6 months to 30 June



vs 2021





Total advertising revenue




Operating profit




Operating margin




Adjusted profit before tax*




Profit before tax




Adjusted basic EPS*




Statutory basic EPS




Net debt+




Dividend per share




* Before exceptional items (2021 only) and IAS19 interest (both periods)
+ Excluding lease liabilities; net funds at 31 December 2021 of £0.3m
Refer to note 23 to the condensed interim financial statements for a reconciliation of the adjusted to statutory numbers

Financial highlights – continued revenue and profit growth

  • Total revenue of £62.1m, +3% on 2021 and +13% on 2019; excluding ELM in 2021 total revenue +4% year on year
  • Operating profit of £11.9m, +22% on 2021 and +8% on 2019
  • STV-controlled advertising continued to deliver strong revenue growth, with VOD advertising on the STV Player +16% (+109% on 2019) and regional advertising +11% (+15% on 2019)
  • Studios revenue +16% reflects ongoing commissioning momentum
  • Operating margin of 19%, broadly back to pre-Covid levels
  • Adjusted EPS of 20.0p, +4%
  • Net debt of £6.6m, up £6.9m since December 2021 due to expected short term funding of increased productions activity; significant headroom maintained

Good audience performance despite tough H1 2021 comparators

  • STV is the most watched peak time TV channel in Scotland for the 4th year in succession, with a share of 22.2%:
    • Commercial viewing share of 29%, with peak time audience higher than the next 9 commercial channels combined
    • 99% of all commercial audiences over 500k viewers in Scotland on STV in H1
    • STV News at Six Scotland’s number 1 news programme since 2019
    • Average Scot spends more than 6x longer watching broadcast content each day than SVOD services such as Netflix
    • 64% of Scots say they either already have or intend to cancel paid-for streaming services according to new research from Scotpulse
  • STV Player grew users and ad impressions in H1, although total online streams and viewing were down 13% and 11% respectively (reflecting strong 2021 comparators including lockdown and Euros football):
    • Total digital ad impressions up 21%
    • VOD streams up 6% on rolling 12-month basis
    • Monthly active users up 7%
    • STV Player VIP users up 37%

Continued strategic momentum

  • Studios:
    • 25 new commissions so far in 2022 (FY 2021:15) and now 9 returning series
    • Major streaming commissions (Criminal Record for Apple TV+, Written in the Stars for discovery+) currently in production
    • A record 20 series in production in 2022, including two further premium dramas Blue Lights (BBC) and Screw season 2 (C4)
    • Further large-scale commissions secured since capital markets event, for BBC and Discovery across quiz, reality, and factual entertainment
    • On track to exceed targets and contribute materially to STV’s planned diversification
  • Digital:
    • STV Player content proposition continues to scale to 5,500+ hours, with drama hours doubling again to over 2,000 across 150+ drama boxsets
    • 10 new content deals so far in 2022, including All3Media, Banijay and EOne
    • Player-only content streams up 13% in last 12 months and contributed 37% of all VOD streams in H1 (compared to 6% in 2019); ex-Scotland streams holding at c.20% of total
    • Innovative AVOD-SVOD collaboration with Acorn TV brings more premium original drama to STV Player
    • Strengthened platform partnerships with Virgin, Amazon, and Samsung
  • Scottish advertising:
    • Continues to show resilience and growth, driven by the return of larger advertising clients
    • Balance across SME and Government spend now back towards pre-Covid levels
    • In addition, STV Growth Fund attracted a further 43 new advertisers in H1
    • 350+ new Scottish advertisers since launch of fund, with over 70% of 2022 advertisers rebooking from prior year


  • Strong H2 content line-up on TV and online
  • 60 hours of new network drama, the return of I’m a Celebrity and the football World Cup
  • STV’s free-to-air proposition a significant competitive advantage vs subscription services
  • Shape of advertising performance across the year so far broadly as expected, although TV advertising not immune from ongoing macro uncertainty:
  • 9-month TAR expected to be slightly down year on year
  • 9-month regional and VOD advertising both expected to be up
  • Stronger commercial and viewing performance expected in Q4, driven by World Cup
  • Studios building momentum and profitability with previous guidance confirmed
  • On track to hit or exceed 3-year growth targets by the end of 2023 to
  • Double digital viewing, users, and revenue (to £20m)
  • Quadruple Studios revenue (to £40m)
  • Achieve at least 50% of operating profit from outside traditional broadcasting


  • The Board proposes an interim dividend of 3.9p per share, +5% on 2021, after considering all relevant factors including the ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty.
  • The Board remains committed to a balanced approach to capital allocation across investing for growth, fulfilling our pension obligations, and paying a sustainable, progressive dividend to shareholders.

Blockquote open STV has had a strong first half of the year, with revenue and profit up on our record performance in 2021.

Our strategy of creating a more diversified business through a relentless focus on production growth, digital streaming and local advertising continues to deliver, with STV Studios revenue up 16%, VOD advertising on STV Player up 16% and regional advertising up 11%.

STV Studios is accelerating rapidly, winning a record 25 new commissions so far this year from a range of networks and global streamers as we aim to become the UK’s no.1 nations and regions producer. We’re currently in production on over 20 new series, including our major new drama for Apple, Criminal Record, which will debut next year in over 100 countries, and two further premium dramas Blue Lights for BBC1 and Screw series 2 for C4.

Our audience position is strong on TV and online, with STV’s daily, weekly, and monthly reach in H1 higher than all subscription streaming services combined. STV remains the most popular peak time TV channel in Scotland for the 4th year in a row, boosted by dramas like Trigger Point and Our House, and active users on STV Player were up 7% in H1 despite tough comparators in the first half of last year with a lockdown and the Euros football.

Our free streaming service STV Player is well positioned to meet the needs of a more cost-conscious audience, with content hours increasing to over 5500, including a further doubling of premium drama hours to 2000+ across more than 150 free boxsets.

The advertising market is clearly not going to be immune from the ongoing economic uncertainty, with total advertising up 4% in H1 and forecast to be slightly down for the 9 months to September, but we are expecting a stronger Q4, boosted by the first ever winter football World Cup.

With a robust financial position, the Board has proposed an interim dividend of 3.9p per share, up 5% on 2021. Blockquote close

Simon Pitts Chief Executive, STV

There will be a presentation for analysts today, 6 September 2022, at 12.30 pm, via Zoom.  Should you wish to attend the presentation, please contact Angela Wilson, angela.wilson@stv.tv or telephone: 0141 300 3000.


STV Group plc:

Kirstin Stevenson, Head of Communications

Tel: 07803 970 106


Geoffrey Pelham-Lane, Partner

Tel: 07733 124 226

Ben Woodford, Partner

Tel: 07790 653 341

Financial and operating review

Read our Interim financial statements.