People/Biz

STV Studios acquires Barefaced TV, eyes younger-skewing fact-ent formats

Scottish producer STV Studios, part of STV Group, is adding another label to its portfolio with the acquisition of factual entertainment producer Barefaced TV, previously owned by Argonon. The partnership will ...
September 1, 2020

Scottish producer STV Studios, part of STV Group, is adding another label to its portfolio with the acquisition of factual entertainment producer Barefaced TV, previously owned by Argonon.

The partnership will see STV Studios pursue younger-skewing factual entertainment formats, STV chief Simon Pitts said in a statement.

Founded by Rosie Bray and Lucy Golding in 2017, London-headquartered Barefaced TV most recently produced Naked Beach for Channel 4.

Bray and Golding are the team behind BBC3′s Snog Marry Avoid. Prior to forming Barefaced TV, the duo created BBC2′s Restaurant Wars and C4′s The Millionaire Party Planner.

They then became joint heads of factual entertainment at NBCUniversal’s development unit, where they worked with now STV Studios MD David Mortimer (pictured), in his role as SVP in charge of NBCU’s international unscripted group of companies.

In August, STV Productions rebranded as STV Studios to reflect its growing portfolio of businesses.

Along with its drama, factual and entertainment divisions — led by Sarah Brown, Craig Hunter and Gary Chippington – STV Studios holds a majority stake in unscripted producer Primal Media (ITV’s Big Heads, Channel 4′s Jerk, Sky1′s Carnage).

In other news, parent company STV Group released its half year results today (Sept. 1), reporting a 19% drop in revenue to £44.7 million (US$60.1 million) from the year-ago period. Advertising revenues also slumped, sliding 20% overall.

Despite those losses, the group saw record viewing growth on TV and online, with an all-time viewing share of 19.2%, even as lockdown restrictions ease in Scotland.

All STV programs are now back in production under new safety protocols, including seven new commissions and four recommissions so far in 2020. The company is currently producing shows for nine different networks.

Among those projects is the 8 x 60-minute series Landmark, commissioned by Sky from Primal Media.

“While our advertising and production revenues have been significantly impacted by COVID-19,
we have been able to mitigate nearly half of the impact thanks to the proactive steps we have
taken and our variable cost model,” Pitts said in the fiscal report.

“The outlook is much more positive in H2, with advertising trends improving materially in July and August, and a strong schedule to look forward to on TV and online including the return of a full complement of weekly soap episodes from later this month, new drama like Des starring David Tennant, and entertainment juggernauts like the rescheduled BGT live finals and I’m a Celebrity.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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