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STV to close STV2 channel as broadcaster cuts 59 jobs

The channel launched last year featuring news and entertainment programmes.

By STV News

Published 16 May 2018.

STV is to close its STV2 channel as part of a major restructuring of the business which will see 59 jobs lost.

The broadcaster said it had taken the "difficult decision" to close the channel at the end of June to shift more investment online.

A total of 25 jobs will be lost at the channel, with a further 34 roles going at STV News as part of its 'News 2020' programme, aimed at saving £1m a year.

STV2, which launched in April last year, features news and entertainment as well as STV News Tonight.

STV said it aimed to establish itself as Scotland's "home of news and entertainment".

It will create three three distinct divisions across broadcast, digital and production, each with its own managing director.

Simon Pitts, STV chief executive, thanked the STV2 team for everything they had achieved.

He said: "This is a positive vision for STV that will re-establish the company as a creative force in Scotland and beyond.

"We will invest in creative talent, new original programming and digital to ensure STV becomes Scotland's home of news and entertainment and delivers long-term value for advertisers, shareholders and viewers alike."

He added: "News is fundamental to the STV brand and we remain committed to offering the best news service in Scotland.

"However, given how quickly news consumption is changing it is vital that STV evolves to stay competitive, and we are therefore launching a comprehensive change programme - STV News 2020 - that will see us invest in skills, technology and digital as well as delivering cost savings.

"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 National Union of Journalists in Scotland criticised the decisions.

John Toner, national organiser of the NUJ in Scotland, said: "Today's announcement to cut 59 jobs across STV news and STV2 is a devastating blow to the staff who work tirelessly to provide some of the best news and current affairs programmes in Scotland.

"The loss of 34 jobs in news and the closure of STV2 with the ending of the flagship STV News Tonight Scottish and international news programme will lead to a massive reduction in the breadth and depth of news coverage viewers in Scotland currently enjoy.

"It is also clear that a multi-platform newsroom will introduce an entirely new way of working, which will have consequences for the way that news is gathered and delivered.

"Staff have worked extremely hard on the STV2 channel, and the quality of the output is not in doubt. The decision to bring this channel to an end is no reflection on the abilities or professionalism of the staff.

"We also find it bizarre that the Edinburgh edition of STV News at Six will cease and will be replaced with a ten-minute opt.

"The NUJ will work with STV management to try to reduce the number of redundancies required, and we are resolved that compulsory redundancies will be strongly opposed."