Media release: STV Group plc interim results for six months to 30 June 2018


STV strategic growth plan gathers momentum

Strong operating performance

* Total revenue up six per cent reflecting good growth across all divisions – broadcast, digital and production

* Operating profit pre-exceptionals up nine per cent

* Total advertising revenue up six per cent across national, regional and digital

* Broadcast revenue up four per cent

* Digital revenue up 24 per cent, including VOD revenue up 61 per cent

* STV Productions’ revenues up 42 per cent, reflecting increased programme deliveries

* £2m cost savings target to fund new investments on track; STV2 closed on 30 June as planned and licences sold

* Interim dividend of six pence per share confirmed and full year dividend payment of 20 pence per share proposed, up 18 per cent year on year

Excellent viewing performance on screen and online

* Strongest STV share of viewing since 2009 at 18.7 per cent, 13 per cent up YOY and ten per cent higher than ITV

* Online viewing on STV Player up 73 per cent, with live simulcast up 68 per cent

Good progress with implementation of STV strategic growth plan

* New divisional structure in place and key leadership appointments confirmed: Bobby Hain as MD of Broadcast (in post); Richard Williams as MD of Digital (starts October) and a new MD of Production will be confirmed later this month and start in November

* New four-year strategic partnership agreed with Virgin Media, delivering an enhanced viewing experience across STV and STV Player and providing significant incremental value to both parties

* STV News change programme on track with launch of new 6pm STV Central programme on 10 September

* STV Growth Fund making excellent progress with £1.5m investment already allocated, generating significant advertising revenue and helping to maximise STV’s share of the Scottish ad-sales market

* First content partnership deals for STV Player launched with Hopster and Little Dot Studios

* New Formats Unit created within STV Productions to pilot high potential programming ideas on STV

* Linked to the new strategy we have incurred cash exceptional costs of £3.0m which have been entirely funded by a reduction in the share buyback programme, as well as non-cash reorganisation costs of £5.6m. Both of these costs are before tax credits and in line with the guidance given in May

* In addition, an increase in the provision against the Scottish Children’s Lottery debtor of £4.2m has been made to reflect lower than expected ticket sales, making a total provision of £5.0m.

Simon Pitts, chief executive officer, said: “The results announced today show encouraging underlying growth across all of our key business areas so far in 2018, which we expect to continue for the remainder of the year.

“Total advertising revenue is up six per cent, on the back of STV’s strongest viewing performance since 2009 and a 73 per cent increase in online viewing via STV Player, fuelled by the World Cup, drama box sets and the soaps.

“We are also making excellent progress with the implementation of our strategic growth plan announced in May, with a new organisational structure in place and new appointments made to lead the team.

“We have signed a valuable, long-term partnership with Virgin Media and we are delighted to be expanding the range of programming available on STV Player through new, innovative content partnerships.

“Our STV Growth Fund has got off to a terrific start with over fifty Scottish businesses already signed up as partners, and we are also looking forward to STV Productions exciting new Scottish drama, The Victim, hitting screens this winter on BBC1.”

Margaret Ford, chair, said: “The board is very pleased with the early progress made in implementing the recently launched strategic plan. Together with strong trading in the first half of the year, we feel confident in recommending an increase in the interim dividend to six pence per share.”

There will be a presentation for analysts at the offices of Peel Hunt, Moor House, 120 London Wall, London EC2Y 5ET today, 4 September 2018, at 12.30 pm.  Should you wish to attend the presentation, please contact Angela Wilson, or telephone: 0141 300 3000.

STV Group plc: George Watt, chief financial officer Tel: 07710 763713

Charlotte Street Partners: Harriett Moll Tel: 07717 501626

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