STV has seen its half-year profit dragged lower as a result of the start-up costs relating to its city television offerings.

Chief executive Rob Woodward also said he sees “no reason” for STV’s independent status to change even as ITV is reported to have been in talks to acquire UTV’s Channel 3 licence.

That came as STV saw revenue in the first six months of the year dip two per cent from £54.7 million to £53.6m mainly because of its production unit falling from £3.9m to £1.7m.

An £800,000 loss from its city television stations in Edinburgh and Glasgow saw underlying pre-tax profit dip seven per cent from £8.4m to £7.8m.

STV also took a £1m writedown on the value of its stake on advertising company Mirriad, which helps identify potential product placement opportunities in broadcast shows, as well as supporting it with £200,000 of new investment.

In spite of the drop in profit the company increased its interim dividend by 50 per cent from 2p to 3p which Mr Woodward said reflected the “confidence” the company had for the remainder of this year. Net debt was cut by around 13 per cent to £35m.

Total consumer revenue in the first six months of 2015 was up from £50.8m to £51.9m.

National advertising revenue grew three per cent in spite of tough comparisons with the 2014 football world cup.

However in the local Scottish market airtime revenue fell seven per cent mainly as a result of a reduction in spend by the Scottish Government because of the General Election in May.

Mr Woodward said the volatility in the Scottish segment showed how “a single client decision can have an adverse impact” in a small market.

In the third quarter national is expected to be three per cent ahead while local is predicted to be up 15 per cent. Digital revenue is said to be up 30 per cent.

In the production side of the business Mr Woodward said revenue would be weighted towards the second half.

Securing a drama commission remains a priority for STV Productions with scripts said to be in development with the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

STV also announced a partnership with GroupM Entertainment to “co-invest, co-develop and coproduce” shows across a range of genres.

The two companies have previously worked on comedy panel game show Safeword, thriller The Poison Tree, documentary Prison – First and Last 24 hours and entertainment programme Perez Hilton: Superfan.

Alan Clements, director of content for STV Productions, said: “This arrangement will bring together the best of both companies to co-develop projects and achieves increased scale and a new impetus to our development activities across a range of genres.”

The first project under the new partnership is called The Dressing Room and goes inside changing rooms of sports teams around the UK.

On the potential UTV channel licence sale and whether it had any relevance to STV Mr Woodward said: “We have a clear strategy and are delivering on that. We are a Scottish based company here to serve Scotland and deliver returns for our shareholders.”

Mr Woodward said there had been “no surprises” in the financial numbers on the city television venture.

The Glasgow service is predicted to be breaking even towards the end of this year with Edinburgh following in 2016.

Mr Woodward said: “They are reaching 900,000 people every month across the central belt in a population area of around three million.

“We can do better on how long they are watching for but we are working with a number of new advertisers who are new to STV and to television.”

Mr Woodward said no launch dates for further local television services in Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee would be announced until transmission equipment upgrades had been completed. He was hopeful that would start in the first half of next year.

Along with that he wants to be able to move the city channels to the slot soon to be vacated by BBC3 in order to make them more visible in Freeview electronic television planning guides.

He said: “It would give us parity with England and Wales. For us it makes sense for local television or city television to be on the same channel wherever you are in the UK.”

Mr Woodward also confirmed the business is working on an internal project, named Metropolis, to bring STV’s online news and entertainment offerings into an updated and expanded package. He indicated that would be likely to launch in the first quarter of 2016.