The network, which began as STV Edinburgh, ended transmissions at midnight.
Live at Five was the only programme to mark with a special programme the end of STV2 on Friday.
I’d like to thank the STV2 team for everything they have achieved over the last 4 years. We have ambitious growth plans for STV Productions which is well placed to take advantage of the surge in demand for new programming from the Nations and Regions. 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. The STV of 2020 will have creativity as its heart, working in partnership to drive the Scottish economy and showcase Scotland to the world.” – Simon Pitts, STV Chief Executive, speaking in May
STV2 bid farewell to Scottish viewers at midnight on July 1st, without any mention it was its final transmission. Following a ten minute feature on haggis, hosted by Kirsty Wark, STV2 simply cut to a caption announcing the new service, That’s TV Scotland, would be launching soon. No continuity announcements during the final day made any reference to its impending switch off.
The only programmes to mention it was the end of the station, which began four years ago as STV Edinburgh, was Live at Five on Friday evening which in its last hour, and 550th edition, paid tribute to the station’s team and on-screen talent who had tried to make the network a success. The production also received a special farewell message from ITV’s Lorraine Kelly and featured archive clips showcasing the showbiz stars who had graced the Glasgow studio’s sofa. There was also a brief mention at the end of STV News Tonight as Halla Mohieddeen celebrated the achievements of the news show which transmitted from 7pm.
STV announced in May it was ‘restructuring’ its business and STV2, which had failed to pull in enough viewers – or profit – was to cease broadcasting. In the announcement the Scottish company stated that some of the content of STV2 would either move to the main STV channel or the STV Player. This would result, they noted, in a saving of £1m per annum. However it also meant the loss of around 25 jobs.
Halla Mohieddeen presented STV News Tonight live from Glasgow
STV first announced they were entering the ‘Local TV’ market in August 2012 with plans for ETV in association with Edinburgh Napier University and GTV a partnerships with Glasgow Caledonian University. ETV became STV Edinburgh launching first, with the GTV version launching as STV Glasgow later. Another two Local TV services were added last year, which saw the whole network rebranded STV2.
STV’s applications for GTV and ETV proposed peak time content, including extensive locally relevant news and current affairs programming together with a wide range of tailored magazine shows. Local community and volunteer groups were to also benefit from opportunities to highlight their work within the new channels and local businesses would be offered accessible advertising opportunities to reach a highly targeted audience.
Highlights from the service included coverage of the Edinburgh Festival which saw STV producing an hour long show broadcast live every weekday evening over the course of the internationally renowned festival. The programme reached 800,000 viewers in August 2015, with 600,000 viewers tuning in across STV’s channels in Scotland and an additional 200,000 across the UK after 11 Local Television Network channels acquired the shows.
Taggart fans were able to relive the many murders
They also screened Glasgow Green Fireworks Live, broadcast from Glasgow’s grand annual fireworks display. The programme averaged an audience of 12,000 and peaked at over 20,000, making it one of the top 10 performing broadcasts of its slot. It was also broadcast live at the event to a crowd of 50,000. New Years Eve was also a time for entertainment with the 2017 fare coming from Glasgow with a traditional night of music and dance.
A promise of local sport also saw STV Fight Night air. This live 90 minute boxing special featured Commonwealth boxing gold medallist Charlie Flynn and hotly-tipped boxing talent Joe Ham. In September 2015 the service made a TV first when it became the first broadcaster in the UK to televise a Scottish court hearing live and in full.
STV News cameras operated inside Court 1 at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to report on proceedings brought on by the legal challenge to the election of Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael as MP for Orkney and Shetland.
News was also a major part of the service, with in September 2016 STV announcing that STV2 would be airing the first ‘national news’ programme for Scotland. STV News Tonight, promoted itself as a landmark new service for Scotland, mixing together for the first time all the news coverage relevant to Scottish viewers along with UK and international stories in a single weeknight programme.
RTÉ soap opera Fair City aired weeknights on STV2
STV also dipped into their archives to provide a mix of drama, movies, soap and factual to screens. Classic episodes of Taggart and Take The High Road proved popular with viewers, along with RTÉ Irish soap Fair City thrown into the mix.
However despite the investment, promotion and mix of new and archive programming, it failed to lure in enough viewers to turn a profit. It does rather suggest that if STV can’t make Local TV work – with a true regional flavour – then none of the others have much hope of success. The various ‘City Stations’ in the UK have already seen a cut back in local content and news due to dismal viewing figures. While local news is hugely popular on BBC One and ITV, the low quality output and cheapness of the Local TV services made it unwatchable – that is apart from STV2 which, thanks to the backing of STV, was the only station on the network that at least looked professional.
The demise of STV2 is part of a three year growth strategy the broadcaster is introducing in order to establish STV as ‘Scotland’s home of news and entertainment’. The new strategy will bring changes to STV’s management, culture and organisation and will be delivered through three strategic objectives the company note. Firstly they aim to maximise the value of STV’s broadcast business by delivering high quality, cost-effective news and entertainment.
The second objective STV state is to drive digital growth through the STV Player by creating an STV for Everyone while finally they aim to build STV Productions into a world-class independent production company.
“News is fundamental to the STV brand and we remain committed to offering the best news service in Scotland. However, given how quickly news consumption is changing it is vital that STV evolves to stay competitive, and we are therefore launching a comprehensive change programme – STV News 2020 – that will see us invest in skills, technology and digital as well as delivering cost savings. 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. – Simon Pitts, STV Chief Executive