STV has delivered a 10% rise in profits to £11 million for the first half of this year and says it is “bucking the trend” in advertising as viewer numbers soar.

The broadcaster had its best viewing share since 2009 and, although total advertising revenue fell marginally (0.6%) to £48.8m, it was offset by continued growth in digital and regional advertising which were up by 19% apiece.

CEO Simon Pitts said STV News consistently had more viewers than the BBC’s Reporting Scotland.

“Delivering a 10% profit increase in a tough market is proof that we’re doing the right things,” said Pitts.

“We delivered our best on-screen viewing performance in a decade, STV is now the most popular peak-time channel in Scotland, bigger than BBC1, four times bigger than Channel 4.

“That’s thanks to dramas like The Bay, big entertainment shows like Britain’s Got Talent and The Chase, but also the success of our local Scottish programming, shows like Sean’s Scotland, which believe it or not during its run beat Love Island and EastEnders on the same night and, of course, STV News, which is on really good form at the moment. It’s up 15% or so in audience terms in the past 18 months and we’re now not just neck-and-neck with BBC Reporting Scotland, but regularly beating them by more than 100,000 viewers, so we are pleased with the performance on screen and in advertising we’re bucking the trend really.

“We are 19% up in digital advertising thanks to the growth in viewing on the STV player and we’re similarly 19% up in local Scottish advertising due to the success of the STV Growth Fund.”

Pitts said STV the ratings growth came despite competition from the new BBC Scotland channel and its news programme The Nine.

“We’re not being impacted negatively by the ratings of the BBC Scotland channel – if anything our ratings are growing and we’re in a very good place,” he said.

“We’re making shows for the new BBC channel. Inside Central Station was their most successful new commission and is coming back again; our three-part documentary Inside the Indyref was also highly acclaimed.”

Pitts said STV should escape the worst of the market and political uncertainty surrounding Brexit as it was not as exposed to it as other sectors.

“We don’t have any just-in-time supply chains to manage, we don’t have exchange rate currency fluctuations to deal with and actually our trading arrangements with ITV, which are long term arrangements, shield us from quite a bit of the profit impact of a declining, weakening national advertising market.”

The company also announced that live sports would be streamed on STV 24 hours a day after it signed a deal with Premier Sports. Its free-to-air channel FreeSports will stream through the STV Player.