STV has outlined plans to support viewers, customers and Scottish communities during the difficult weeks ahead.
“People and businesses across the country are now profoundly impacted by the coronavirus and we recognise the vital role that public service broadcasters like STV will play through this extended period of disruption. We are a free to air, universally available and highly trusted source of news, entertainment and information and we can use our privileged place in people’s lives to have a positive impact now and in the longer term” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
Chief Executive Simon Pitts has set out broadcaster response to COVID-19 pandemic.
As the Government escalates its response to coronavirus, STV has put in place measures to support viewers, customers and local communities, all of whom are now seriously affected by the pandemic.
“We will continue to deliver a comprehensive range of new programmes across daytime and peaktime. Our schedule largely relies on pre-recorded shows like The Chase and Tenable in the afternoons and 9pm dramas like Liar and Belgravia. Our partner ITV announced yesterday that Coronation Street and Emmerdale – the two most popular programmes in Scotland – will continue to run for the coming months, albeit on a reduced schedule pattern of 8 episodes per week from Monday 30th March as the production teams implement new health advice.”- STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
STV note that for their viewers – originally part of the ITV independent network of companies and now the sole survivor outside of ITVplc – they will do everything they can to maintain a broadcast service and keep their core programming, across all genres, on air. In particular STV aim to ensure Scottish viewers are informed with trusted news about the crisis both on TV and online, as well as providing much needed entertainment with a raft of new shows on STV and the STV Player, including content provided by ITV.
“The health and safety of our staff is our number one priority, together with the well-being of guests and contributors. We are proud of our track record as Scotland’s public service broadcaster and the STV News team will continue to do all they can to deliver trusted, balanced, high quality journalism from across the country as we know our viewers rely on us.
“We are adapting and changing the way we cover stories and create content to minimise risks, in line with guidance. Our team is equipped with new technology and connectivity that enables them to work remotely, and our contingency plans ensure we have a clean and clear studio facility on standby to guarantee continued delivery of our trusted news programmes during this time.” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
The most watched regional news service in Scotland, STV News, currently transmits programming from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee with news gathering offices also located across the country.
“From our leading position as Scotland’s most watched news service in 2019, audiences for STV News on television and online have continued to increase as this situation has evolved.
“We continue to collect and broadcast news content across Scotland, providing the most locally focused news service for Scottish viewers, together with dedicated Holyrood and Westminster coverage. Our current affairs programme, Scotland Tonight, will offer additional coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and other topical stories from around the country, and its audience has more than trebled on Thursday evenings since moving the programme into a peaktime slot earlier this year.” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
As well as information on-screen and online the company also aim to help ‘in the real world’ too via the STV Children’s Appeal.
“No one will be hit harder by the coronavirus than our most vulnerable communities. We have therefore granted emergency funding of £400,000 from monies raised during the 2019 STV Children’s Appeal to FareShare, who will redistribute food to communities across Scotland. We are actively seeking to work collaboratively with other charities to ensure that funding gets to those who need it most right now, and will be adapting our future STV Children’s Appeal fundraising activities in 2020 to ensure we focus on the most pressing causes during this crisis.” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
Thanks to this charity the most vulnerable in Scottish communities will be assisted as STV implement a package of special measures to provide increased support at this most challenging time.
Advertisers and businesses will see STV work in partnership as they implement new plans to support Scottish businesses using STV’s unparalleled reach to promote their products and services when they promotion most.
“Over the last 2 years we have been proud to welcome over 250 Scottish businesses as members of the STV Growth Fund, which has provided £10m of funding to make TV advertising more accessible for companies of all shapes and sizes across the country. We are completely committed to supporting our advertisers and commercial partners to help sustain the Scottish economy through these challenging times.
To this end I’m delighted to announce that we will boost our investment in the highly successful STV Growth Fund by an additional £10m. This commitment will provide opportunities for advertisers to continue to promote and build their businesses during 2020 and beyond. Within this we will also provide up to £1m of free advertising to charities and the third sector who are working hard to help the most vulnerable businesses and individuals come to terms with their new circumstances.” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts
The company also note that those with Smart TV’s, internet TV and online access the STV Player will provide additional drama, entertainment and factual programmes. The STV Player is also now universally available across Scotland following its recent launch on the Sky platform and on Apple TV, alongside over 30 other platforms and connected devices.
Viewers can catch up on the latest big dramas such as Flesh and Blood, McDonald & Dodds, Vera, Cold Feet and Endeavour. There is also 1000 hours of exclusive content including The Code, Deep Water, The Slap, Acceptable Risk and Hamish Macbeth.
The STV Player also hosts classic Scottish Television programming such as Taggart, Rebus, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Take the High Road.
“These are hugely challenging times for everyone but my fantastic colleagues at STV are committed to delivering the best possible service for viewers, partners and our local communities over the coming months, and I would like to thank them for their professionalism and dedication. We’ll continue to work with industry, commercial partners, government and our viewers to entertain, inform and provide vital support where we can across Scotland.” – STV Chief Executive Simon Pitts