STV Player delivers record-breaking start to 2021, following a year of exceptional growth

James, 73, who was brought up near the Castle in Dumbarton and once owned a health food store in Helensburgh, said he was delighted to take up the position representing the 7th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS), based in Perth.

He’s famous for his role as lord commander of the Night Watch in Games of Thrones and commanding officer of The King’s Fusiliers in hit TV show Soldier Soldier.

The Scots actor was approached to take up the role after showing an interest in the military during his acting career.

As a figurehead James Cosmo will represent the unit within both civilian and military communities.

The unit is looking forward to welcoming James and said he will love being the boss of the “real army of the north”.

Lieutenant colonel Duncan Mackinnon, commanding officer of 7 SCOTS, said: “We are truly delighted that Colonel James has accepted this appointment.

“We are really looking forward to having him visit, when restrictions allow, and meet his Battalion to see what we do.

Private Andy McLean, of 7 SCOTS, added: “Everyone in the Battalion thinks it’s great news – he was lord commander of the Night’s Watch and now he gets to be the boss of the real army of the north.

“We’re clearly much better and he’ll love being part of our battalion.”

STV Player, the free streaming service run by broadcaster, STV, has kicked off 2021 with a record-breaking performance.

And James Cosmo is one of the stars of that too, playing a retired solicitor at the onset of dementia in The Bay, which is currently running as series 3.

Cosmo is playing alongside Morven Chrisie, pictured left, another Scottish star of stage and screen, in a detective thriller which has been shot at Morecambe, a favourite alternative to Blackpool for Scottish holidaymakers and honeymooners in the ‘Sixties.

Like Cosmo, Morven also has connections with Helensburgh.

The platform delivered 12.5 million streams in January, an increase of 115 per cent on the same month last year. Online viewing was also up 100 per cent year-on-year, with a total of six million hours spent consuming content on the STV Player throughout the month. The number of monthly active users on the service grew by 20 per cent in January alone.

STV’s streaming service grew faster than any other broadcaster VOD platform in 2020 – up 68 per cent – thanks in large part to the growing popularity of its Player-exclusive content, which now makes up around one third of all digital viewing.

The Player’s addressable audience increased considerably after being added to Sky Q across the UK in December, following UK-wide launches on Freeview Play and Virgin Media earlier in the year. It is now pre-installed in over 17 million UK broadband-enabled homes – around 70 per cent of the total.

The dropping of network drama box sets was also a key driver for the growth in traffic in January, with The Bay being streamed 1.7 million times, and the new series of Marcella attracting 700,000 streams in just six days after being added to the platform on 26 January. Comedy drama, Finding Alice, was streamed one million times, as was word-of-mouth hit, The Bridge, an STV Player-exclusive series.

In addition to The Bridge, the platform offers an ever-increasing range of high-quality multi-genre titles, including gripping US dramas like Gracepoint and Detective McLean, Australian boxsets The Slap, Janet King and Devil’s Dust, critically-acclaimed Irish series Striking Out, plus hundreds more unmissable
entertainment and documentary series.

Luss Parish Church, which features in Take the High Road.

It’s also home to a huge range of STV’s local programming and classic archive content, such as Taggart, Rebus and Take the High Road, with the classic Scottish soap attracting over one million streams since its launch on the Player in April. In total, there are now more than 3,000 hours of Player-only titles available on the service.

Richard Williams, managing director of Digital at STV, said: “We’re only one month into 2021 but we’ve already delivered a record-breaking performance for the STV Player, which has exceeded all expectations.

“We spent much of last year working to ensure that viewers across the UK could enjoy the fantastic free content available on our platform, and we’re delighted to see so many of them are now doing exactly that.

“Our strategy of constantly refreshing the service with new Player-only titles from around the world will continue throughout 2021, with a range of exciting content deals in the pipeline.”

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