When Rob Woodward took the helm as chief executive of Scottish media group Stv Group (LON:STVG) in early 2007 he instigated a sell off of poorly performing assets, sharpened the group’s digital strategy and began eyeing the opportunity of delivering local services across Scotland. In the three years that followed, STV has concentrated on building a brand based on quality content and services whilst expanding its audience and advertiser base and keeping a close eye on costs.
Before joining STV, Woodward was commercial director of Channel 4 Television and formerly CEO of 4Ventures. He previously spent time in the City as an MD of UBS Warburg and global COO of corporate finance in media and communications after joining from Deloitte, where he was managing partner of the firm’s European telecoms, media and technology business and UK strategy consulting practice. STV is part of the Itv (LON:ITV) Network, which also includes Utv Media Plc (LON:UTV) in Northern Ireland and Channel Television and which compete directly with the likes of the BBC and British Sky Broadcasting Group (LON:BSY) .
Last week Woodward delivered STV’s results for the first half of 2010, which saw sales from continuing operations increase by 20% to £50m and group pre-tax profits before exceptionals rise by £5m to £6m. The improved performance came on the back of an airtime market recovery combined with continuing cost controls that helped to boost broadcasting margins. In May, the latest in a string of asset sales saw the group sell loss-making cinema adverising business Pearl & Dean. The group is now pressing ahead with its efforts to integrate new digital platforms and partnerships and roll out its community-based STV Local service across Scotland.
Rob Woodward spoke to Stockopedia about STV’s progress during the last three years and how he is seeking to broaden the group’s presence on both a local and international level.
Rob, you have been responsible for STV’s restructuring over the last three years. What has been going on during that time?
It was an ailing company which needed complete restructuring, it was a turnaround situation. Basically we refocused the company around the core asset, which is its Scottish broadcasting business STV, and along the way we sold off the non-core assets. The first to be sold was a company called Primesight, which…