DOZENS of jobs will be lost after STV announced it is to close its second channel as part of a major three-year restructuring plan.

The broadcaster said the loss-making STV2 would close at the end of the June and investment will shift to its main channel. The move will result in the loss of 59 jobs.

The media firm said 25 jobs would go at STV2 while a further 34 would be lost as part of changes to its news output.

STV2 was launched in 2017 and brought together TV stations for Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as proposed local stations for Ayr, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The reorganisation of services would result in savings to the company of about £2m a year.

The announcement was made as part of a strategic review by new chief executive, Simon Pitts.

He said there would be renewed focus on the broadcaster’s online streaming service, with added investment in the STV Player.

Mr Pitts said the decision to axe STV2 was in part driven by anticipated competition from BBC Scotland’s new channel, which will begin broadcasting next year.

The move comes after the broadcaster revealed its pre-tax profit had slipped slightly from £18.3m in 2016 to £18m last year.

Simon Pitts, STV chief executive, 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."

He thanked the STV2 team for everything they had achieved.

STV said it would use the cost savings plus other redirected content spending to allocate £15 million for new investments over the next three years, the majority of which will be spent on new original content.

It is placing digital "front and centre" in the organisation by creating a dedicated digital team under a new managing director whose sole focus will be to drive the growth of its online streaming service, STV Player.

It also aims for STV Productions to become one of the UK's leading production companies, with bases in Glasgow and London.

Mr Pitts said: "We have ambitious growth plans for STV Productions which is well placed to take advantage of the surge in demand for new programming from the nations and regions.

"We will exploit STV's unique producer-broadcaster status to attract the best creative talent and showcase new formats and ideas for the UK and international markets.

"The STV of 2020 will have creativity as its heart, working in partnership to drive the Scottish economy and showcase Scotland to the world."

Scottish Labour said the news was a "devastating blow" for staff and the creative and media industry.

Culture spokeswoman Claire Baker said: "At a time when BBC is launching a new channel and Glasgow is making a strong bid to be the new headquarters for Channel 4, we should be looking to build our media capacity in Scotland not diminish it.

"At the same time we need a strong and independent news sector to hold the Governments at Westminster and Holyrood to account and scrutinise Brexit for Scottish viewers.

"STV have been lauded for its local and national news and politics coverage, these redundancies risk undermining that."

Scottish Conservative spokeswoman Rachael Hamilton added: "This is a hammer blow to broadcasting in Scotland, and to journalism here more generally.

"STV is a trusted news source and should be investing in people, not sacking them."