Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Thursday, 27 August 2009 10:15 UK

STV reports 84% slump in profits

STV logo
STV has been affected by a massive drop in advertising revenue

Profits at the Scottish broadcaster STV have slumped by 84% after a substantial drop in advertising revenue.

STV posted pre-tax profits of £700,000 in the six months to June, compared to £4.5m the previous year.

Broadcasting operating profits dropped by a quarter to £3.9m, driven by a £10m decline in advertising revenue.

STV chairman Richard Findlay said the firm "was well positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities beyond the downturn".

The broadcaster said advertising was down 16% in the year so far to September, with rates between July and September much improved at 3%.

Group revenues fell 35% to £48.8m, partly due to the sale of its Virgin Radio business, which had revenues of £11.3m and operating profit of £1.1m last year.

Advertising revenues were predicted to be down between 10% and 12% in October and the firm said the forecasts would remain short term, reflecting the current conditions.

Cast of The Bill
The Bill is one of ITV's best rated programmes

Mr Findlay said: "Despite the unprecedented macro economic situation and in particular the record decline in UK television advertising during the period, STV has delivered significant progress in all areas of the business during the first half of 2009.

"Every possible measure is being taken to manage our cost base and improve efficiencies and we are well positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities beyond the downturn, developing key partnerships and building our position as Scotland's media brand of choice."

This year STV has "taken greater control of its schedule" by opting out of more peak time shows from the main ITV network schedule, allowing it to tailor output to Scottish audiences.

This has seen the broadcaster drop police series The Bill and several other high-profile programmes.

STV said it had received an order from ITV for edited versions of four episodes of its Rebus drama, starring Ken Stott, for the autumn schedule.

It also said it was still in discussion with the national broadcaster over the commissioning of crime series Taggart, but added it remained "confident about the future of the series".

Viewers in Scotland with satellite or cable television can still watch ITV1 programmes.

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