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Content investment boosts UKTV

Commercial broadcaster UKTV’s focus on investment in exclusive and original programming generated record ratings, revenue and profit in 2014.

Officially the fastest growing broadcaster in Britain, UKTV’s £123 million investment in content produced strong growth in commercial impacts and in its on demand services.

UKTV – an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive – is now vying for the title of top non-PSB broadcaster, as award-winning channel Dave maintained its position as the most watched non-PSB channel in the country, while Drama was the most successful British TV channel launch in five years.

Overall, 2014’s commercial impacts show that while other broadcasters fell by 3.7 per cent collectively, UKTV hit a high of 9 per cent SOCI, up 9.4 per cent from 2013, bucking the market trend.

The home of BAFTA-nominated Monty Python Live (Mostly) and Broadcasting Press Guild-winning Crackanory has also seen strong growth of UKTV Play, its on demand service, as the company invests in expansion of its business beyond traditional, linear broadcasting.

Strong advertising revenues derived from a strong SOCI (share of commercial impacts) performance, meant UKTV booked record revenue of £283 million last year (2013 £278m) and saw a 10 per cent increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) at £74.1 million (2013 £67.4m).

Original British programmes such as Storage Hunters UK and Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish were amongst the network’s top performing titles, demonstrating the increasing strength of the British broadcaster’s commissioning power and helping the network to achieve its record performance in 2014.

On the back of its strongest ever year, the business continues to build on record-breaking results with SOCI hitting an all-time high of 9.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2015. In turn, that has allowed UKTV to invest even more in standout original content in addition to its rich collection of British and overseas acquisitions.

Darren Childs, Chief Executive, said: “UKTV has now grown its share of the British commercial TV market to 9.4 per cent, making our portfolio of channels vital for advertisers. This is the first time in the history of British television that a non-PSB channels business has played such a big role in the ratings, but expect much more from us. This is just the groundwork to ensure long term, future success for UKTV.”

“We are significantly increasing our investment in brilliant content, both in what we spend on our outstanding UK originations and in our enviable collection of ‘best in class’ acquisitions from BBC as well as from C4, ITV and overseas. We pay relentless attention to our ever-increasing reach and distribution, ensuring modern British viewers can enjoy our vibrant channels and imaginative shows, whichever kind of television provision and technology they have: free, pay or online only.”

Jan Gooze-Zijl, Chief Financial and Operations Officer said: “Our strategy of focused investment in content and channels that viewers love is paying off in our financial results – in 2014 we generated record levels of revenue (£283m) and we increased EBITDA by 10 per cent to achieve an all-time high of £74.1 million. In 2015 we are substantially increasing our investment in content beyond the 2014 levels of £123 million and already we are delivering year on year market share growth in our viewing.”

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