Ambitious STV expects strong online income growth

Scottish Channel 3 franchise holder STV made £1.6m from online operations in the first half of the year – 60% more than last year.

Under a multi-platform strategy digital head Alistair Brown’s calling STV Anywhere, the group has launched its STV Local network of local websites and has become the third UK broadcaster to license shows as VOD to YouTube.

STV also shows the programmes on the STV Player section of its own website, which the broadcaster says has seen half-year unique users grow 109% to 1.6m, with video views up 76% to 700,000 a month.

From Thursday’s earnings: “We are accelerating our investment in our significant online and mobile initiative, STV Local, launching the first pilot area in September.

“During the second half of 2010 and into 2011, STV Local, working with local content partners, will launch “must visit” hyper-local websites for local communities across Scotland. STV has recruited a high calibre staff to work in the business but will also incorporate user generated content, making STV Local a truly interactive experience, at the heart of our digital strategy.”

STV’s now targeting 2010 full-year digital income of £5.2m, £7.3m in 2011 and £9.1m in 2012.

Company-wide operating profit is up from £3m to £7m, on £8m higher income of £50m, after what it says was “significant upturn in airtime revenue combined with continuing cost controls”.