STV has reaffirmed its commitment to screening an increasing number of home-grown productions, by announcing several Scotland-made new programmes to be soon showing on the channel.
At a press conference hosted yesterday by chief executive, Rob Woodward, the channel said it was still keen to have most of its schedule comprise programmes being shown on the ITV network, but added that it wished STV to be distinctly Scottish rather than ‘ITV in Scotland’.
Said Woodward: “STV is Scotland’s most popular peak time TV station with a very strong heritage spanning back 50 years. We want to keep STV distinct, we want to keep it relevant and we want to grow our business going forward. We want to be able to compete effectively in a digital world.
“We are also committed to the ITV Network and we believe that, in the longer term, STV will have an outstanding, diverse and distinct schedule comprising high-quality, home-grown production, exciting acquisitions of wider appeal and strong network material.”
He added: “We’re not ITV in Scotland; we have our own distinct identity and we have chosen not to simply broadcast a schedule from London. We are very much committed to delivering an STV service within a channel three network. Over 90 per cent of the STV schedule is comprised of network material and we’re proud to have this as the backbone of our schedule.
“But we’re also proud to be investing significantly in home-grown production and in the Scottish production sector. We’re in the very early stages of our plan, we’re commissioning more and more original productions, acquiring some strong new series and I’m confident that our schedule will get stronger and richer over time.”
Between now and early next year, the STV schedule is to include a home-grown programme about Scots at War, including in Afghanistan, plus an hour-long documentary on Sherlock Homes. Meanwhile, Make Me Happier, a six-part series, starting next month, following a group of Scots ‘trying to improve their lives’. It has also bought in Australian drama series, Underbelly, about gangland warring in Melbourne.
STV has recently run into a storm of protest by choosing to opt out of the broadcasting of some popular network programmes, including The Bill and Doc Martin. ITV plc – which owns most of the ITV network – is currently suing STV for what it claims to be outstanding payment towards the making of these programmes, while STV is counter-suing ITV plc over what it claims to be outstanding advertising payments.
Continued Woodward: “STV has broadcast 95 of the top 100 most-watched commercial programmes so far this year [in Scotland] – and STV actually made 15 of them [including a documentary about singer, Susan Boyle, plus dramas, Taggart and Rebus]. This is an excellent achievement, considering the large majority of the schedule is comprised of network material.”
Today’s Scotsman newspaper reports STV has not entirely killed (The) Bill. Here.