The channel operator will shut down STV2 – which has aired The People’s History Show, as well as news and chat shows – at the end of June, citing it as a “loss-making” channel. Twenty five staff members will be cut, with an anticipated annual savings of £1 million.
The strategy for shuttering the network was also in part due to an investment in online content, which includes the creation of a dedicated digital division to create content for its online streaming service, STV Player. The exclusive programming for the player will target younger viewers with short and long-form content. An ad-free subscription version of STV Player will also be launched.
The broadcaster will reorganize its structure, with three new divisions across broadcast, digital and production, each with its own MD. Bobby Hain will be MD of the broadcast division, while recruitment is currently underway for the digital and production divisions, as well as the formats unit.
The formats unit will focus on ideas for the UK and international markets, with pilots airing on STV.
Another 34 staff members will also be part of the “headcount reduction,” with the cost savings and other redirected content spend going to a £15 million investment in new original content, with a focus on formats and returnable series.
Meanwhile the production arm of the broadcaster, STV Productions, will refocus exclusively on developing returning series for both terrestrial and SVOD players.
“As a result of the challenging economics of local television and anticipated increased competition from BBC Scotland, we have taken the difficult decision to close our loss-making STV2 channel to focus our future content investment on STV and the STV Player,” said Simon Pitts, STV chief executive, in a statement.
“We will exploit STV’s unique producer-broadcaster status to attract the best creative talent and showcase new formats and ideas for the UK and international markets,” he added.