Record adjusted operating profit as diversification strategy continues to deliver


  • Diversification on track, with 38% of earnings now from Digital and Studios
  • Favourable new ITV partnership significantly strengthens STV digital strategy
  • STV Player registered users surpass 5m target one year early, in Q1 2023
  • STV Studios doubles new programme commissions with further strong growth to come
  • STV remains Scotland’s most watched peak time channel for the 4th year in a row
  • Confident of achieving 2023 diversification targets, despite ongoing economic uncertainty
  • Board proposes final dividend of 7.4p, bringing full year to 11.3p, +3% on 2021

Financial Summary








Total advertising revenue




Adjusted operating profit*




Adjusted operating margin*




Adjusted PBT**




Profit before tax




Adjusted basic EPS**




Statutory basic EPS




Net (debt)/cash+




Dividend per share (full year)




* Before exceptional items and inclusive of High-End Television tax credits (the latter 2021 only)
** Before exceptional items and IAS19 interest, and inclusive of High-End Television tax credits (the latter 2021 only)
+ Excluding lease liabilities
Throughout this announcement, where we state record financial performance, it is made by reference to 2010 when the final disposal was made and the Group as we know it today remained

Financial highlights

  • Adjusted operating profit of £25.8m, +2% on 2021
  • Total advertising revenue (TAR) of £110.0m, down only 2% on record 2021
  • Total Group revenue of £137.8m, -5% on 2021, as a result of marginally lower TAR and timing of production deliveries
  • STV-controlled advertising continuing to show growth and resilience, with VOD advertising +9% and regional advertising down 4% (excluding Scottish Government spend, regional grew 18%)
  • Digital revenue +7% at £19m and digital profit +9% at £8.5m
  • Studios revenue of £23.7m down 11% on prior year due to timing of deliveries, in particular drama (2021: £26.6m). Studios adjusted operating profit +6% at £1.4m
  • Adjusted operating margin of 18.7% (2021: 17.5%), reflecting improved margins in both Digital and Studios
  • Net debt (excluding leases) of £15.1m (2021: net cash £0.3m) driven by short-term working capital needs to support Studios growth; will unwind as programmes are delivered

Another year of strong audience performance

  • On TV, STV’s peaktime viewing share of 22.5% was the highest since 2009, with our lead over BBC1 widening:
    • Most watched peaktime channel in Scotland for 4th year in a row
    • Bigger peaktime 16-34 audience than C4, ITV2 and BBC Three combined
    • All-time audience higher than any other commercial channel on 361 days of 2022
    • November 2022 was STV’s highest viewing share for 19 years, driven by I’m a Celebrity and the FIFA World Cup
  • STV Player enjoyed its best ever streaming performance, with growth across all key metrics:
    • Registered users up 17% to 4.9m, and now over 5m in Q1 2023
    • Online viewing up 6%, advertising impressions +27%
    • Streams up 1%, with live streams up 5%
    • Monthly active users up 10%, STV Player VIP users up 16%
    • New research shows that 20% of Scots have already cancelled at least one paid-for streaming service, with a further 38% saying they intend to

 Continued strategic momentum

  • Studios: STV Studios continues to scale rapidly:
    • 30 new commissions and now 11 returning series
    • 3 major new returnable drama series currently in production for Apple, BBC and C4
    • 2023 will be a breakthrough year with £50m+ of commissions already secured for delivery, more than double 2022
  • Digital: STV Player’s long-term streaming growth secured through new ITV partnership:
    • 100+ hours per year of new, exclusive content will launch on STV Player through new ITV deal
    • Long-term content partnership in place with ITV until 2029, on a variable cost basis
    • Digital content offer now 6,000+ hours, with 156 new titles and 1,600 hours added in 2022
  • Scottish advertising: More than 1,000 deals through the STV Growth Fund since launch in 2018, allocating just under £20m. In 2022 there were 223 deals, with 70% of 2022 Growth Fund members re-booking from the previous year.
  • Targets: On track to hit or surpass our 3-year growth targets to 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

2023 outlook

  • Advertising impacted by ongoing economic uncertainty, but expected to remain resilient
    • Total advertising revenue down around 15% in Q1 as expected
    • Digital VOD advertising up around 20% in Q1
    • Scottish advertising expected to be down 20-25% in Q1, flat to slightly up excluding Scottish Government spend
    • April TAR expected to be down 10-15%
  • 2023 content line-up on STV and STV Player stronger than ever
    • 34 new drama boxsets vs 14 in 2022
    • Exclusive coverage of the Rugby World Cup in the autumn
  • Studios building momentum, with previous guidance of £50m revenue and at least £3m operating profit reconfirmed
  • Digital content cost guidance unchanged post ITV deal; new content funded through revenue share arrangement
  • Other cost inflation partly mitigated by savings
  • H1/H2 split more pronounced this year due to advertising market and Studios phasing


  • The Board proposes a final dividend of 7.4p per share for 2022, up 1% on 2021, giving a full year dividend of 11.3p per share, +3% 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 2022 was another year of growth for STV where we delivered increased operating profit beyond our record performance in 2021 while continuing to support our people, partners and communities.

Our diversification strategy, focused on driving growth in digital streaming and content production, continues to accelerate, with digital profit up 9% and Studios profit up 6%. Nearly 40% of STV’s earnings now come from these new growth areas as we reduce our reliance on traditional television and create a vibrant, future-facing media business.

Our audience position remains unrivalled, with STV being Scotland’s most popular peaktime TV channel for the 4th year in a row and our viewing share the highest since 2009.

Streaming service STV Player had another record year, delivering growth against all key metrics and surpassing our target of 5m registered users in early 2023, one year early. Our enhanced long-term partnership with ITV will propel the next phase of our streaming growth, guaranteeing exclusive access to 100+ hours of new, original UK content every year and complementing our extensive acquired content offering.

STV Studios is scaling rapidly and profitably, winning a record 30 new commissions in 2022 and already securing over £50m in revenue for 2023. This will be a breakthrough year as we deliver 3 major new dramas for Apple, BBC and C4 and make meaningful progress towards our goal of becoming the UK’s leading nations & regions production company.

The advertising market showed further resilience in 2022 with STV total advertising revenues finishing only 2% down on our record 2021 performance. As expected, given the uncertain economic climate and strong 2022 comparator, STV’s Q1 2023 total advertising is down by around 15%, though digital VOD advertising on STV Player is expected to be up around 20% and Scottish SME spend – excluding Scottish Government spend – also expected to be flat to slightly up, offering some encouragement for 2023. Our advertising performance should also be bolstered by a very strong content line-up which includes exclusive coverage of the men’s Rugby World Cup starting in September.

The Board has proposed a final dividend of 7.4p per share, giving a full year dividend of 11.3p, +3% on 2021. Blockquote close

Simon Pitts Chief Executive, STV

There will be a presentation for analysts today, 7 March 2023, at 12.30 pm, via Zoom.  Should you wish to attend the presentation, please contact Angela Wilson, 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 Consolidated income statement year ended 31 December 2022.