STV has hailed a 10 per cent increase in operating profit despite pressure from Brexit on advertising.

Operating profit was at £11 million, while total advertising revenue was down a 0.6 per cent to £48.8m.

Simon Pitts, Chief Executive Officer, said: “An operating profit increase of 10% when national advertising revenues are down supports the decisions we took to reposition the group for profitable growth, focusing on STV’s regional strengths and the exciting growth potential offered by our digital and production businesses.

"In the first half of 2019 we have enjoyed the best all time viewing share on STV since 2009 and our total advertising revenue has outperformed the wider TV market, driven by continued growth in digital and regional advertising and by the increasing success of the STV Growth Fund which has attracted over 100 new Scottish advertisers to television since launch.

"These factors have contributed to a strong first half performance, with a significant improvement in operating margin."

READ MORE: STV acquires major stake in Primal Media

He said the firm continues "to make good progress with our strategic growth plan and have laid solid
foundations for the future".

It said that "although current political uncertainty around Brexit will continue to impact total national advertising revenue in the second half, we expect further growth in digital and regional revenue and an improved performance from STV Productions".

This inlcudes a new quiz format, The Cash Machine, the first commissions from newly acquired Primal Media, and a new drama for BBC1, Elizabeth is Missing.

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Mr Pitts said: "We also have an exciting programming line-up to look forward to on STV in the second half of the year, with exclusive coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, new dramas like A Confession and Sanditon, and entertainment juggernauts like Britain’s Got Talent The Champions and I’m a Celebrity helping to drive viewing on screen and online.”