Advertising revenue dip reported by STV

REVENUE from UK-wide advertising being broadcast on STV was down four per cent during the third quarter of this year, according to an interim management statement issued by the company this morning.

The statement – covering the period between August 25 and the 15th of this month – was, however, once again pretty upbeat in tone, including an increase in audience following the creation of two separate early and late evening news programmes covering the east and west of Scotland.

National airtime advertising is advertising that runs across the ITV network – on ITV and STV – and sold by ITV on behalf of STV.

Regional airtime advertising, meanwhile, is advertising sourced by STV for broadcast only on STV, not across the ITV network.

Says the statement: “In Q3, national advertising revenues were down four per cent, a slight improvement against expectations. National advertising revenues in November and December are expected to be slightly below the ITV Network due to very high revenue shares in the previous year. Overall, we expect national revenues to be down two per cent to three per cent for the full year.

“Regional airtime revenue was in line with expectations in Q3, down 18 per cent, and has returned to growth in Q4. The rate of growth has slowed due to the impact of the macro-economic climate and will not be as strong as previously expected in [the second half of the year], with regional airtime revenue for the full year now expected to be down ten per cent. The impact of reduced national and regional airtime revenues will be almost fully offset by cost savings delivered from across the group.”

The statement highlighted four points:

· STV’s digital business continues to develop with all usage metrics growing in line with Key Performance Indicator targets. The roll out of the STV Local network of hyper-local sites continues with Glasgow set to launch in early 2012;

· STV Productions continues to broaden its activities across genres and this month has announced a key commission from ITV2, Perez Hilton Super Fan, a co-production borne out of our strategic partnership with US production company, Kinetic Content, and GroupM Entertainment;

· Launch of new regional news programmes for Edinburgh and the East of Scotland and for Glasgow and the West of Scotland, making STV’s news service the most local in the UK. Since launch, STV’s news audience has increased by 17 per cent;

· Ongoing strong cost management offsetting impact of macro-economic downturn on revenues.

The statement quotes STV Group plc chief executive, Rob Woodward, as saying: “We are broadly on track to deliver our targets and our strategy remains clear going forward with investment in strategic partnerships, helping extend the STV brand in our core Scottish market and beyond. We are committed to delivering public service broadcasting and creative content across all platforms and to delivering shareholder value. This is an exciting time for STV, with a number of strategic initiatives underway and a true connection with our audience, we are confident in our position as Scotland’s leading digital media company.”

Yesterday, the BBC, among others, reported that STV had alerted broadcasting regulators, Ofcom – and been subsequently ‘ticked off’ – that it had sometimes run advert and trailer breaks between programmes for longer than the permitted three minutes and 50 seconds.