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Brexit impact as STV ad revenue remains flat despite profit hike

Brexit blamed as STV ad revenue lies becalmed

STV has reported essentially flat advertising revenue for the first half of the year after registering a nominal £300k dip versus the equivalent period in 2018 – although operating profit of £11m was significantly ahead.

Overall total advertising revenue fell by a marginal 0.6% to £48.8m although the broadcaster insists that even this dip in performance was still sufficient for it to outperform a broader TV market thanks to an improvement in digital and regional revenues, up 19% apiece, which helped to offset declines in national advertising.

Looking ahead STV cited ‘Brexit uncertainty’ as the principal factor behind predictions of a broadly flat advertising performance for the first nine months to September.

CEO Simon Pitts remarked: “An operating profit increase of 10% when national advertising revenues are down supports the decisions we took to reposition the group for profitable growth, focusing on STV’s regional strengths and the exciting growth potential offered by our digital and production businesses.

“In the first half of 2019 we have enjoyed the best all time viewing share on STV since 2009 and our total advertising revenue has outperformed the wider TV market, driven by continued growth in digital and regional advertising and by the increasing success of the STV Growth Fund which has attracted over 100 new Scottish advertisers to television since launch.

“Although current political uncertainty around Brexit will continue to impact total national advertising revenue in the second half, we expect further growth in digital and regional revenue and an improved performance from STV Productions, including a new quiz format, The Cash Machine, the first commissions from newly acquired Primal Media, and a new drama for BBC1, Elizabeth is Missing.”

STV's ad revenues last year were lent a boost by insatiable viewer appetite for the World Cup, drama box sets and soaps.

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