By Stuart Thomson
Virgin Media has extended the reach of STV Player, the TV app from Scottish commercial broadcaster STV to its entire footprint, giving the latter broader coverage across the UK, and has also added UK pubcaster Channel 4’s All 4 app to its TV platform.
STV has agreed a deal with Virgin Media which will enable its TV customers across the UK to watch STV Player via their set-top boxes from this summer.
The STV Player app and catch-up service was integrated into Virgin Media’s boxes for viewers in Scotland in December 2018. This new agreement extends that across Virgin Media’s UK footprint.
STV said that the partnership is a key part of its strategy to significantly increase the market for its digital streaming platform. STV Player has grown its revenues by 60 per cent over the past two years and digital viewing on the Player this year is up 70 per cent.
Due to licensing agreements, STV can only broadcast its Channel 3 Network schedule in its broadcast regions in Scotland. However, over the last 18 months STV has been building up a catalogue of UK-wide licensed content on the STV Player and this, its own productions, is now available across the rest of the UK on Virgin Media, as well as YouView and Freesat. The app is also available UK-wide via download from app stores on web, iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Kindle tablets, Apple TV, Samsung, Fire TV and Roku, Now TV and via Chromecast. STV Player is available in Scotland on Sky.
STV says that there are more plans for expansion to follow.
From the summer, Virgin Media viewers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to access more than 1,500 hours of content from STV, including drama series, true crime, children’s programming and over 50 box sets, for free.
STV has secured a range of new content partnerships including Endemol Shine International, TCB Media Rights, TVF Media, Hopster, Flame, and Jukin’ to add to their rich and varied inventory and complement the broadcast schedule.
STV said that its STV Player-exclusive content now constitutes 25 per cent of streams.
STV’s managing director, digital, Richard Williams said: “We’re delighted to be working closely with Virgin Media in bringing our ever-increasing Player content offering to more households across the UK. We see significant scope for future digital growth from both our core audience and new audiences, and partnerships such as these are key to delivering such progress.”
The All 4 app, which launched on Virgin Media yesterday, is the latest addition to the operator’s library of TV and streaming apps alongside the likes of Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5, Netflix and YouTube.
The addition of the app to Virgin Media’s line-up will enable its subscriber to view shows such as Scrubs, Freaks and Geeks, Seinfeld and ER; featured channels such as Adult Swim and global drama from Walter Presents along with catch up content from all of Channel 4’s broadcast channels
A curated selection of films shown on Channel 4 and Film4 are also available to stream via the app.
Chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media, David Bouchier said: “STV has a diverse range of programming so it’s great news that all of our customers across the UK can now access its content.”
Of the All 4 integration, Bouchier said: “The addition of the All 4 app means that we now have fully integrated versions of all the major UK streaming apps on our TV platform. This is great news for our customers who have everything they need in one place, making it even faster and easier to watch the TV shows and movies they love whenever they want.”