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STV Boss Simon Pitts Exiting After Six Years

STV boss Simon Pitts is exiting the business after six years.

Pitts has led the Scottish broadcaster-producer since 2018, during what has been a tricky period beset by the Covid-19 pandemic and ad recession. He has, nonetheless, delivered growth and seen a boost in production arm STV Studios, which is now making big budget shows such as Apple TV+’s Criminal Record.

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He will take up a new role in a year’s time and remain with the Scottish outfit until then while the board appoints a successor.

“Simon has been an outstanding leader of STV over the past six years,” said Chairman Paul Reynolds. “As the architect of our diversification strategy, he has successfully led the transformation of STV from a linear broadcaster into a resilient content creation and digital streaming business with an exciting future.”

Pitts added: “With STV’s latest diversification targets fully achieved, now is the right time to plan a smooth and orderly succession. Our leadership team is very strong, our strategy is clear and it’s delivering. Our STV colleagues are doing a fantastic job producing world class programmes, news and digital & commercial products every day of the year, staying ahead of the competition and creating strong foundations for the future.”

The announcement was made as STV unveiled its full-year results, showing a turnover boost of 22% to £168.4M ($212M) but adjusted operating profit declines of 22% to £20.1M. The year experienced tricky economic headwinds, with the ad market badly impacted, and total advertising revenue was down 12% to below £100M. Broadcasters in England have also been feeling the pinch, with Channel 4 laying off around 250 and ITV selling BritBox International and implementing a recruitment freeze. “Our overall financial performance was impacted by weak linear advertising and cost inflation, as expected and related to the challenging UK macro environment, although the start of 2024 has been more encouraging,” said Pitts.

STV Studios had a strong year, with sales more than doubling to £67.2M. The production arm landed a number of big shows including Peter Capaldi-starrer Criminal Record, BBC One’s Blue Lights, which has been recommissioned up to Season 4 already, and new format The Underdog: Josh Must Win. It also bought Lego Masters maker Greenbird for around £21.4M.

Going forwards, STV will enter a new three-year strategy that will see it look to double Studios revenues to £140m with a target to achieve a 10% margin, grow digital revenues by 50% to £30m at a margin of at least 40% and increase international revenues to 15% of Group / 25% of Studios.

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