UKTV grew its share of the British TV advertising market to a record 9 per cent in 2014, following increased investment in content and record viewer numbers coming to the network this Christmas.
Official BARB data shows that the media company – an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive – celebrated its most successful Christmas (December 22nd to January 4th), with viewing up 3 per cent year-on-year and the network beating Channel 5’s portfolio of channels by 2 per cent during the festive period. Boxing Day (6.51 per cent, up 4 per cent year-on-year) and New Year’s Day (6.7 per cent, up 8 per cent year-on-year) also broke all previous ratings records.
Gold was the most watched pay only channel across all platforms on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (excluding movie channels), and UKTV’s new VoD service, UKTV Play, posted a 169 per cent increase in downloads over the Christmas period versus the previous two weeks, registering a 42 per cent increase in views. The festive period was also particularly successful for Good Food (up by 106 per cent), Really (up by 21 per cent), Drama (up by 15 per cent), Yesterday (up by 13 per cent), Alibi (up by 9 per cent) and Dave (up by 1 per cent) which all enjoyed increased viewer numbers year on year.
Across the full year, UKTV also grew its average total viewing share by 8.5 per cent on 2013’s numbers when compared to the total broadcast market, making 2014 a fourth consecutive year of growth for the network. UKTV achieved a record-breaking total viewing share of 7 per cent on 20 April, the highest ever recorded in the network’s 22 year history. The month of April also marked UKTV’s best ever month with a 5.37 per cent share.
UKTV Chief Executive, Darren Childs says “UKTV is bucking the market, growing its share of the UK commercial TV market to 9 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 so big a role in the ratings charts and our investment will continue in 2015.”
Crime drama channel Alibi also enjoyed a bumper year, achieving a 0.43 per cent share, up 6 per cent year-on-year, with Rizzoli and Isles and Castle continuing to pull in high volumes of viewers.
The record-breaking figures come at the end of a 12-month period in which UKTV has increased its investment in on screen content to £125 million and the network achieved its highest ever year-end revenue of £278 million and EBITDA of £67.4 million.