STV Group (Scotland)

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STV Group plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSESTVG
Industry Media
Founded 1957
(as Scottish Television plc)
Headquarters Glasgow, Scotland
Key people Rob Woodward (CEO);
Baroness Margaret Ford (Chairman)[1]
Products Television, Internet
Revenue £104.8 million (2010)[2]
Operating income Increase £14.4 million (2010)[2]
Profit Increase (£5.3 million) (2010)[2]
Employees 380 (core staff)
550 (freelance staff) (2010)[2]
Website www.stvplc.tv

STV Group plc is a Scottish media company. It is a constituent of the FTSE Fledgling Index. Originally formed as Scottish Television, it changed its name to Scottish Media Group in 1996 when it acquired Caledonian Publishing, owners of Glasgow-based newspapers The Herald and Evening Times (both of which have since been sold). It then went on to acquire the ITV licence holder for Northern Scotland, Grampian Television in 1997. Scottish and Grampian merged brands in 2006 to form STV.

History[edit]

SMG's last logo before rebrand

Originally formed as Scottish Television, it changed its name to Scottish Media Group in 1996 when it acquired Caledonian Publishing, owners of Glasgow-based newspapers The Herald and Evening Times (both of which have since been sold). It then went on to acquire the ITV licence holder for Northern Scotland, Grampian Television in June 1997.[3] In August 1997 the company acquired 15% stake in UTV[4] In 1999 it launched a new Sunday broadsheet newspaper, the Sunday Herald. The company renamed itself again as "SMG plc" in 2000 by which time it had expanded further through the acquisitions of Primesight (outdoor advertising), Pearl & Dean and Ginger Media Group, which included Ginger Television and the UK radio station, Virgin Radio.[5] Talks were also held which could have led to Border Television and Ulster Television being bought, but they came to nothing.[6]

On 24 March 1999 Mirror Group sold its 18.6% stake to Granada.[7] During the summer, the STV Group held talks about buying out the other shareholders in GMTV, with Disney believed to be keen on the idea,[8][9] many city observers believed this was a defensive move to fend off a takeover bid from Granada. By September an agreement had been reached to acquire Guardian Media Group 15% stake for £20million, but both Carlton and Granada objected to the deal.[10] Guardian Media Group finely concluded in selling off its 15% stake in GMTV for £18m in January 2000, but STV group only acquired 5% with the remaining 10& going to Carlton and Granada, which give all companies 25%.[11][12]

In the first week of September, 1999 the company acquired a 37.4% stake in Heart of Midlothian F.C. for £8 million. A few days later the company unveiled its interim results with its pre-tax profits up 2 per cent to £24 million with a turnover of £111.2 million.[10]

In early December 2000 the group acquired a 14.9% stake in Scottish radio holding, in anticipation of a relaxation of radio ownership rules[13][14] and within four months increased this to 27.7%.[15] By 2004 the company sold there 27.8% stake in Scottish Radio Holdings to Emap for £90million in anticipation of consolidation in the radio market.[16]

Flextech Owner Telewest sold its 16.9% stake in STV Group to an investment bank for £45million as part of their plan to raise funds to help clear off debt.[17][18] Throughout 2003/2004 rumours appear about company being broken up, with its ITV interests being sold off in an attempt to wipe out its £380m debt and boost its balance sheet, but the reverse happened with the Herald newspapers and Scottish Radio Holdings shared being sold off. IN late 2003 Ulster TV along with venture capital group 3i and Scottish Radio Holdings to bid for SMG fro £400million but withdrew the offer after there believed the share price was to high.[19][20]

In September 2004, ITV plc purchased STV Group's 25% stake in GMTV for £31 million,[21] after being given the go ahead from the office of Fair Trading, despite advertiser fears, it could give ITV influence over pricing. SMG said "SMG are pulling out of GMTV because it did not want to hold a minority interest in someone else's media business".[22]

Andrew Flanagan unexpectedly resigned as Chief executive in July 2006, Although he helped create the company since 1998, his spell in charge will be remembered by many in the television industry as a period which saw a dramatic decline in the amount of programmes made by the company for transmission within Scotland alone.[6]

Rob Woodward became the new Chief executive in 2007, and started a major reconstruction of the group instigated a sell off of poorly performing assets,[23] starting with Primesight being sold for £62m to a private equity firm.[24][25][26] SMG said in a statement that the price GMT Communications Partners is paying represents a "clear uplift" on offers previously received for Primesight.[27] Primesight have been prosecuted a number of times for the display of advertisements without consent which is an offence under UK Planning Acts.[28][29] The lack of consent for many of Primesight's displays is said to have reduced the selling price by up to £30 million.[30]

Further major changes occurred when it sold Virgin Radio to an Indian group on 31 May 2008,[31][32] SMG plc changed its name to STV Group plc. The company says the name change is to highlight its renewed focus on television, encompassing the STV Central and STV North franchises and the company's production business.[33] The new STV Group branding was introduced on 1 October 2008.[34]

And a new deal which resorted in Pear and Dean handling the advertising for Showcase Cinemas, which meant that the Pearl & Dean titles will now appear in just under half of UK cinema sites.[35]

By 2010 the group had sold off all non television assets, with Primesight (outdoor advertising), Pearl & Dean for £1 to Image Ltd, a newly formed company backed by Empire Cinemas director Thomas Anderson, with STV still recouping £9.1m from the business due to a 2010 payment from Vue Cinemas[36] This action helped reduce debt and helped restructure the company to concentrate on its core television businesses. ITV plc held a 16.9% stake in the business, since 1999 when Mirror Group sold its stake to Granada plc[37] which has been reduced to around 6.7% following a rights issue.

Merger proposals[edit]

In September 2006, the then SMG officially rejected a merger offer from Northern Irish ITV franchise holder UTV. The merger approach would have given SMG shareholders a 52% stake in the combined company. The Scottish group said its board had examined a revised merger proposal from UTV, but did not believe it reflected the value of the company.[38]

In 2006 ITV plc considered making an offer for STV Group, according to The Mail on Sunday. The newspaper quoted an ITV source as saying John Cresswell, acting chief executive at the broadcaster, was most interested in the group's television franchises but that any deal would be for the whole group, including Virgin Radio, which SMG also owns. An ITV spokesman declined to comment on the report.
SMG said earlier in the month[when?] that its 2006 profit would be materially behind expectations, sending its shares down more than a quarter in value to a 15-year low.[39]

On 10 January 2007, SMG and Belfast-based UTV agreed the details of their merger, including a revised share split between the two. UTV would own 54% of the group. SMG would take the remaining 46%.[40]

This merger was finally rejected at the end of February, and a new board and management team were introduced at SMG shortly afterwards. The company announced plans to concentrate on its core TV business, floating off Virgin Radio and selling Pearl & Dean and Primesight.

Relationship with ITV plc[edit]

STV Group plc has had a turbulent relationship with ITV plc and both Carlton and Granada, the predecessor companies that merged to create it. ITV plc owns the ITV franchises in England, Wales, Southern Scotland (Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders), the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. ITV plc also operates a number of digital channels and websites under the ITV brand. The company threatened to take legal action over the use of the name 'ITV' because it is the name of the Independent Television network, which STV Central and STV North are both part of. One of the problems facing the group is that ITV is the senior partner when it comes to its two TV stations, since London-based ITV effectively controls most of the scheduling and is also responsible for selling STV's advertising airtime. Rumours persist of a possible takeover of STV Group plc by ITV plc (see below).

In September 2009, ITV plc announced it was to launch legal proceedings against STV for a quoted unpaid debt of £38 million from network programming contributions, following STV's practice of dropping a number of network programmes on the STV franchise. At the same time, STV claimed it is also following procedures against ITV plc, for up to £40 million owed to STV under its advertising sales agreements.[41]

Television[edit]

STV[edit]

STV Group plc owns two Scottish ITV licences, Scottish Television, which covers Central Scotland, and Grampian Television, covering Northern Scotland. On 2 March 2006, it was announced that Scottish Television would revert to using its former brand name of "STV", which it previously used from the start of colour broadcasting in 1969 until 30 August 1985, and which the station is still informally known as in parts of Scotland. Scottish Television became known as STV Central. At the same time, Grampian Television would also become known as STV North, with the one main identity of STV serving the two licences. The rebrand took place on 30 May 2006.

Other channels[edit]

The former SMG plc ran its own digital channel, S2, throughout the Scottish and Grampian ITV regions. S2, which aired on the Digital Terrestrial platform, was launched on 30 April 1999 and was replaced by ITV2 just over two years later - as part of a deal with ITV Digital - on 27 July 2001.[42]

Sky Scottish was a satellite television channel operating on the analogue Sky TV service between 1 November 1996 and 31 May 1998. The service was a joint venture between British Sky Broadcasting and the Scottish Media Group. It initially broadcast between 6.00pm and 8.00pm in Scotland. The channel was closed due to poor ratings. A high-definition channel, STV HD, launched on 6 June 2010.[43]

On 11 January 2013, STV were awarded two local TV licenses to operate digital terrestrial television channels in Glasgow and Edinburgh for up to 12 years.[44] The two channels, STV Glasgow and STV Edinburgh, will be delivered in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University respectively, and will launch in the summer of 2014.[45]

Production[edit]

STV Productions[edit]

STV Productions (renamed from SMG Productions on 1 October 2008) forms part of the network television production arm of STV Group plc, producing drama, factual, entertainment and children's output from its bases in Glasgow and London for all UK terrestrial networks as well as key satellite and cable channels.

Ginger Productions[edit]

Ginger Productions, alongside STV Productions, is part of the network production arm of STV Group plc. Based in Waterhouse Square in London, its output focuses on Entertainment and Factual Entertainment. Ginger was acquired as part of SMG's acquisition of the Ginger Media Group in 1999.

STV Creative[edit]

STV Creative is the company's commercial production division, based in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Solutions[edit]

Solutions is STV's production resources division, providing facilities for studios, outside broadcasts, post-production, corporate events and commercial productions.

Internet[edit]

stv.tv[edit]

The URL stv.tv is the address of the main website of STV. The website currently offers News, Sport, Weather, Entertainment, Competitions, and STV programme information, and TV listings.

stv.tv/local[edit]

STV Local is a Scottish network of hyper-local, community-based websites. Pilot sites have been launched in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Moray and North & South Lanarkshire . The plan is to have a Scotland-wide network of sites up and running by late-2011/early-2012.

stv.tv/player[edit]

STV Player is the video section of the main stv.tv website. It offers catchup of regular STV programming, along with archive STV programmes and exclusive videos.

stv.tv/bingo[edit]

STV Bingo was launched in 2006 and is run in partnership with CashCade.

Virgin Radio[edit]

Up until May 2008, the company owned Virgin Radio, a British commercial music radio station based in London. Virgin Radio was launched as 'Virgin 1215' nationally on 1215 kHz (although some regional transmitters used other frequencies) at 12.15pm on 30 April 1993 by Richard Branson as part of his Virgin brand. It was sold to Ginger Media (which was subsequently bought by SMG plc) but retained the Virgin name at the time. On 12 April 2007, it was announced that SMG planned to sell Virgin Radio, to enable the company to focus on its television station, STV.[46] Virgin Radio was finally sold to a group led by The Times of India for £53million on 30 May 2008.[31]

Studios[edit]

STV Group's headquarters in Glasgow are based at Pacific Quay, a development situated next to the River Clyde, in July 2006, alongside BBC Scotland's new studios and the Glasgow Science Centre. STV Group's Aberdeen studios moved to a new purpose-built site in the city's Tullos area in 2003, from their previous location (a converted tram shed), which they occupied since Grampian launched in 1961.[47]

STV also has studios in Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness providing regional news coverage in their particular area.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Changes to the board of directors of SMG plc". London Stock Exchange. 28 February 2007. Retrieved 7 March 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2010". STV Group. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Scottish Media seeks to loosen ties with ITV.Eric Reguly. The Times (London, England), Wednesday, June 11, 1997
  4. ^ Scottish buys into Ulster TVBuckingham, LisaThe Guardian (1959-2003); Aug 15, 1997
  5. ^ "Evans sells up". BBC News. 2000-01-13. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  6. ^ a b McIvor, Jamie (2006-07-18). "Tongues wag as SMG chief resigns". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  7. ^ Larsen, Peter Thal (1999-03-24). "Granada stalks Scottish with pounds 110m share buy". The Independent. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  8. ^ "Scots Media set to buy GMTV". This is Money. 1999-09-01. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  9. ^ "Scottish Media seeks GMTV stock". The Independent. 1999-09-03. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  10. ^ a b "SMG bid for GMTV stake could be blocked". Broadcast. 1999-09-10. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  11. ^ "GMTV". The Guardian. 2000-09-05. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  12. ^ "Trio share GMTV stake". Broadcast. 2000-01-07. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  13. ^ Milmo, Dan (2000-12-08). "Scottish Media Group buys SRH stake". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  14. ^ "Shares soar after radio deal". BBC News. 2000-12-08. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  15. ^ "Scottish Media Group increases stake in Scottish Radio". Media Week. 2001-03-07. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  16. ^ "Emap buys stake in Scottish Radio Holdings". Media Week. 2004-01-19. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  17. ^ "Telewest sells SMG stake for £45m". This is Money. 2002-11-06. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
  18. ^ Milmo, Dan (2002-11-06). "Telewest offloads SMG stake". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
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  20. ^ "Ulster TV plots £400m bid to buy Scottish Media Group". Brand Republic. 2004-03-15. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
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  22. ^ "ITV gets go-ahead on GMTV shares". Broadcast. 2004-09-23. Retrieved 2013-06-22. 
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