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UKTV outpaces broadcast market

The UK’s biggest multichannel broadcaster, UKTV, is outpacing the British broadcast market, as the first half (H1) of 2016 delivered record-breaking share of commercial impacts (SOCI); with audience share and on demand views also showing significant growth.

Reaching an all-time high, UKTV’s consolidated SOCI, averaged at 9.74 per cent for H1 2016. The broadcaster grew its ad impacts 7.6 per cent year-on-year, while the market grew by only 2.7 per cent. And for the first time, the UKTV network achieved 10 per cent SOCI for a full quarter for Q2.

Since 2010, UKTV has grown adult impacts by 48 per cent. Over the same period, broadcast has grown by 6 per cent.

“Our investment in bold, original programmes for our vibrant channel brands continues to chime with audiences – from Dynamo: Live to The Comic Strip Presents… to the David Haye fights and Taskmaster – the year so far has been outstanding, and the best is yet to come,” declared Darren Childs, Chief Executive of UKTV said. “Our share of commercial impacts continues to grow so we can better serve British viewers and advertisers in this competitive market.”

Audience share, inclusive of non-commercial television, has also hit new levels, with the first half of the year up 7.6 per cent vs. the first half of 2015. The network peaked with a record 7.64 per cent overnight daily share on Easter Sunday.

UKTV’s VoD services are also enjoying growth, up 12 per cent year-on-year for H1, boosted by roll out on new devices and platforms, and increased library shows and boxsets. The broadcaster’s award-nominated TV streaming service, UKTV Play, has enjoyed an 84 per cent increase in views year-on-year, and the app passed one million downloads. Since UKTV Play’s product redesign and nationwide #LoveYourThing campaign launched in June, there has been a 50 per cent increase in visits to the UKTV Play website.

W launched in February, and has grown across several metrics versus Watch. Its average viewership has increased 4 per cent year-on-year, while average monthly reach increased by 8 per cent, and viewership amongst the target young, female audience is up by 15 per cent. The channel has a slate of exclusive programming for the second half of 2016, including UKTV Originals John Bishop in Conversation with… and Amanda Holden’s I’ve Got Something to Tell You.

The UK’s most watched non-PSB channel Dave moved into live sports for the first time in 2016, securing the exclusive, live rights to the David Haye comeback fight at the O2 arena, which brought in a record-breaking peak audience of 3.2 million viewers. Taskmaster was up 45 per cent series-on-series in July, with the second episode delivering the highest performance of the run with 768k viewers, consolidated. The new series, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled was also up 19 per cent on slot. As a whole, Dave increased viewership by 2 per cent in peak across the year, whilst also winning Entertainment Channel of the Year at the coveted Broadcast Digital Awards.

UKTV continues to push boundaries with its ambitious commissioning strategy for Dave; last week it announced satirical politics talk show, Unspun with Matt Forde.

Gold has enjoyed a tremendous year so far, with viewing share up 8.2 per cent compared to H1 of 2015. The channel has also kicked off Q3 well, with Simon Callow-fronted scripted comedy commission, The Rebel, which premiered to 308k viewers, up 126 per cent on slot.

Drama is the number two non-PSB channel (behind Dave), and one of the fastest-growing channels in the UK, up 32 per cent year-on-year. The channel recently acquired the rights to The Red Tent, a four-part mini-series with Minnie Driver.

UKTV’s strategy of moving Home from subscription-only to free-to-air has also paid off, with the channel increasing its audience 167 per cent year-on-year. And Really is delivering great numbers for the network. June’s Serial Killer Season provided a boost, with the fortnight-long season helping the channel achieve its best ever weekday peak share (0.94 per cent).

The news follows the broadcaster’s annual results, released in April, which reported record revenues, EBITDA, profit and investment in programming and related launches for 2015. UKTV continues to commission more brand new formats, across more genres, than ever before, including live entertainment and sports, scripted comedy, talk shows, authored documentaries, fixed rig and ob docs (observational deocumentaries).

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