UKTV Originals watched in record numbers in 2017

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UKTV reports that its strategy of investing in UKTV Originals continues to deliver results. The broadcaster secured record ratings for UKTV Originals on linear TV in 2017. Online serivce UKTV Play has also seen a 75 per cent increase in views year on year.

Darren Childs, CEO, said: “We’re creating our own IP through UKTV Originals at a greater scale than ever before, and that’s allowed us to drive on demand viewing to new highs, as well as bringing new audiences to linear television. Our new and exclusive shows are driving audiences to our fastest-growing brand, UKTV Play. That ensures we can offer advertisers data-driven targeted advertising on demand, as well as advertising to mass broadcast audiences through our large, established, linear broadcast channels. While the competitive challenges remain significant in television, we’re continuing to invest in creative storytelling and brilliant entertainment that our viewers love, and that makes me optimistic for the future.”

UKTV, which is an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive, airs across its ten-channel network a mixture of UKTV Originals and acquisitions from BBC, C4, ITV and more.

UKTV Originals

A five-fold increase in the number of UKTV Original Productions over the past five years has led to more original shows than ever before, and there are 50 currently in production. Top UKTV Originals this year include Murder On The Blackpool Express (1.8m Total Consumption); Red Dwarf XII (2.04m) and International Emmy nominee, Taskmaster (1.4m).

The broadcaster worked with three times as many independent production companies in 2017 than in 2016 and across three times the number of genres, including comedy, entertainment, factual and sport.

Leading the commissioning drive was Dave. The channel’s critically acclaimed UKTV Originals brought in younger audiences, taking eight of the top 10 slots in the channel’s ratings list for 2017 and bringing millions of users into TV on demand service UKTV Play.

Top shows on Dave, in addition to Red Dwarf and Taskmaster, include Taskmaster: Champions of Champions, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit, Live Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night, Zapped and Red Bull Soapbox.

In June, UKTV signed a TV rights deal with Hayemaker Ringstar, the three-year deal for Dave will see five fight nights broadcast free of charge per year. The next fight night will be on February 16th.

TV On Demand

UKTV Play is the broadcaster’s fastest growing brand and in 2017 recorded another hugely successful year with direct-to-consumer views up 75 per cent year on year. October saw UKTV Play’s best month ever, driven by UKTV Originals, Taskmaster and Red Dwarf XII, contributing to 21 per cent and 10 per cent of the month’s views respectively.

  • Taskmaster is also the best performing programme on UKTV Play year to date, with the preview of episode seven of the fifth series becoming the best performing preview ever on UKTV Play.
  • Red Dwarf XII had a fifth more viewers (20 per cent) for the 7-day preview versus the previous series.

UKTV Play continued to grow and launch on new platforms. This year, all shows on UKTV Play were added to Amazon Fire TV’s Universal Search – the first broadcaster in the UK to do so. 1,000 hours of catch up TV also became available to Virgin Media Ireland customers, and in June, all UKTV channels became available via UKTV Play in the Catch-up section of Sky+ and Sky Q. This resulted in performance on Sky On Demand increasing by 55 per cent against the yearly average.

TV Channels

Comedy channel Gold grew by 2 per cent share, its success driven by original comedy Murder on The Blackpool Express, now watched by over 1.8 million viewers as well as The Story of Only Fools and Horses and David Jason: My Life on Screen.  In September, UKTV Original Henry 1X won a prestigious Rose D’Or award for Best Sitcom.

Really had a brand refresh early last year, which, alongside UKTV Originals Helicopter ER and Cops UK: BodyCam Squad, has contributed to an 11 per cent growth year on year for the channel.

Drama, which shows mainly BBC content, grew in 2017 by an impressive 7 per cent share. Peaking with a daily share of 1.93 per cent, the channel exceeded half a million viewers on 45 occasions with popular BBC shows Inspector George Gently, New Tricks and Father Brown bringing in big audiences. Death in Paradise consistently proves popular with one episode drawing 670k.

This success is also boosted by The White Princess which has been watched by 1.06m viewers. Series four of The Brokenwood Mysteries has also been watched by an audience of 823k since launch.

The highest rated commission on W this year was UKTV Original, Inside the Ambulance, peaking at 276k, which has more than doubled the slot average and series on series, has grown by 26 per cent.

Brand new original programmes coming to UKTV in January include the launch of high-octane gameshow The Wave fronted by Rylan Clark-Neal on W, social media star Yianni Charalambous launches his first show, Yianni: Supercar Customiser on Dave, Victoria Wood retrospective dinnerladies diaries airs on Gold, while Really’s factual slate of UKTV Originals includes all new firefighter access documentary, Into the Fire – and next month W’s Celebrity Haunted… franchise returns with Christine Lampard and Matt Richardson at the helm.

Festive Period

UKTV recorded its highest ever Christmas Day share with 6.28 per cent which beat the previous record set in 2013 of 5.89 per cent


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