STV Player is now the ‘most popular commercial video on demand (VOD) platform in Scotland’ with viewing figures increasing by 36% in the first half of 2019.

According to the broadcaster, the app is about to get ‘even better’ as additional content partners are secured and new features to improve the viewing experience are launched.

The new content is in addition to catch up or live viewing of STV’s autumn schedule which kicked off earlier this month with two new and much anticipated new drama series: Sanditon, and A Confession, a new six-part fact based drama starring Martin Freeman. The autumn schedule also welcomes back entertainment shows including Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions and Celebrity X-Factor and later in the year, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here. The STV Player will also provide exclusive access to 38 live matches from the Rugby World Cup – including all of the matches featuring the home nations.

Last week it was confirmed that viewing on demand on the STV Player increased by 36% in the first half of this year, driven by popular drama series, including Manhunt; The Bay; and Cheat. The first drama boxset to premiere on the STV Player, Deep Water, has achieved over 700,000 streams on Player in just five weeks, achieving more streams in the first week than Coronation Street and Emmerdale combined.

As Scotland’s favourite content destination, the Player offers over 500 additional hours of programmes from 11 content partners, with the latest addition – FreeSports – to be added soon. Through the partnership that will deliver FreeSports, the STV Player will become the first broadcaster VoD service providing a free-to-air, always-on sports feed.

Recently secured partners are Joe Media, DCD Rights, and Kew Media. New programmes now available from these latest arrivals include new weekly sports shows covering boxing, cricket, football and rugby featuring sports stars such as Mike Tindall, Graeme Swan and Carl Frampton from Joe Media. Viewers will also be able to watch a broader range of crime programming through the new partnership with DCD Rights, and a deal signed with Kew Media will provide further factual, features and drama series.

Earlier this summer, partnerships were confirmed with Endemol Shine International, TCB Media Rights and TVF International and series such as comedy-mystery-drama Hamish Macbeth and crime drama My Dirty Little Secret are already proving popular with STV viewers as they join the top thirty most watched shows on the platform.

As the STV Player continues to grow in popularity, a new look and brand identity have been launched. This new design offers enhanced features allowing viewers easier access to the broader range of content available.

Additionally, a range of new features, designed to create a seamless and increasingly personalised viewing experience. The new features include ‘live restart’ on all live streaming platforms, enabling viewers who have missed the start of a match to restart. This is now being used in almost one fifth of live streams. Viewers are also now provided with tailored end of play recommendations with one in three going on to watch the recommended content.

Launched in time for the Rugby World Cup, which will be live on STV Player from 20 September, ‘picture in picture’ enables viewers to work and watch the rugby at the same time. ‘Picture in picture’ is available for all content on the STV Player.

Richard Williams, STV’s Managing Director, Digital, said: “Our vision is for the STV Player to become Scotland’s digital destination. STV’s investment in programming provides viewers with an even greater choice of exclusive, live and on demand content and increases the appeal of STV Player to the widest possible audience.

“The continued enhancements to the Player provide further flexibility in how viewers watch STV, ensuring that they can access their favourite shows however and whenever they want.

“Our improved viewer experience and increased content offer are already driving more people to watch more frequently for longer on the STV Player.”