STV2 closed with 59 Jobs Axed
STV has closed its local TV channel STV2, launched just last year, and in the process cut 59 jobs.
The channel, which made losses of £800,000, was an unconventional attempt by a major TV player to move into the realm of local programming. But the decision to scrap 59 jobs has been attacked given the ‘Golden Hello’ awarded to STV’s new chief executive Simon Pitts, who received £853,000 on his ascension to the role - more than the entire loss from the venture.
STV blame the forthcoming BBC Scotland channel launching in 2019, which has long been lobbied for by the Scottish Government in order to overcome what they perceive as London-centric programming agenda.
Responding to the closures, Mr Pitt said:
"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.”
The decision drew harsh criticism from Scottish Labour’s culture spokesperson Claire Baker MSP, who said:
“This is a devastating blow for staff at STV and the wider creative and media industry.
“It will stick in the craw for many that the news was delivered as part of cost cutting measures from a CEO that was awarded a ‘golden hello’ of over £800,000.
“At a time when BBC is launching a new channel and Glasgow is making a strong bid to be the new headquarters for Channel 4, we should be looking to build our media capacity in Scotland not diminish it.
“At the same time we need a strong and independent news sector to hold the Governments at Westminster and Holyrood to account and scrutinise Brexit for Scottish viewers. STV have been lauded for its local and national news and politics coverage, these redundancies risk undermining that.”