Multichannel programmer UKTV’s commissioning strategy continues to bear fruit with UKTV Originals driving younger viewers to UKTV Play and remaining the most watched programmes on the network in 2018.
“Our strategy of creating distinctive, ambitious and compelling new shows is continuing to pay off,” asserted Darren Childs, UKTV CEO. “I’m incredibly proud that for the first time, UKTV Originals were the top rating shows on six of UKTV’s channels and on UKTV Play last year. The breadth and depth of our channels offer a rich mix of opportunities for advertisers, and UKTV Play, which generated over 140 million views and attracted 1.8 million registered users in 2018, provides a data rich environment for targeted advertising.”
UKTV Originals and Channels
In 2018, UKTV worked with more independent producers than ever before and produced or developed over 120 new shows. The broadcaster built on its commissioning success with UKTV Originals becoming the most watched shows on six of UKTV’s channels – Taskmaster (Dave), Emma Willis: Delivering Babies (W), Death on the Tyne (Gold), Murder on the Blackpool Express (Drama), Abandoned Engineering (Yesterday), Inside the Ambulance (Really).
On Dave, UKTV’s biggest commissioning channel, four out of the top five shows were UKTV Originals – Taskmaster, Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier, Judge Romesh and Zapped. Taskmaster was also the most popular show across the network with the most recent series (seven) becoming the most successful to date, with an average of 1.5 million viewers per episode.
W’s commissioning strategy continues to mature and new UKTV Original, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies, was the most watched show on the channel in 2018 (753k). It was followed by Inside the Ambulance which continues to attract a high number of viewers (386k for series three and 359k for series four).
Yesterday grew its share by 11.4 per cent. and UKTV Original, Abandoned Engineering, was the most popular show on the channel.
“UKTV is increasing investment into originations yet again and in partnership with top talent, both in front of and behind the camera, it’s enabling us to strengthen our catalogue of popular and critically acclaimed shows,” advised Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning.
“This year our aim is to grow original output even further with a series of network firsts. Flack, our first full blown drama series premieres on W in February. We’ll shortly be in production for a number of crime dramas for Alibi, and Steve Backshall will bring high octane specialist factual to Dave with the stunning Expedition.
“We want to build on our strong talent relationships too, Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over kicks off a revitalised slate for W which still has slots to fill and on Dave we’re looking for female fronted comedy entertainment shows to compliment other high performing hits, led by Taskmaster.”
TV On Demand
In 2018, UKTV Play continued to grow and had 140 million views across all platforms – a 36 per cent increase on the previous year. In less than 12 months since mandatory registration was introduced, over 1.8 million users have signed up to the service, a third of whom are aged 16-34.
UKTV Originals were the most popular shows on UKTV Play with episodes of Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier taking the top three spots. They also appealed to a young demographic with 69 per cent of registered viewers who watched Taskmaster being aged 16-34, 45 per cent for Judge Romesh and 63 per cent for Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier. In addition, Yianni Supercar Customiser, drew in a large 16-34-year-old audience with 68 per cent of viewers falling into this age range.
In 2018, UKTV also increased distribution of its on-demand service. UKTV Play launched on NOW TV and Roku streaming players, Freesat, Samsung TV and Go Media.
Brand new programmes coming to UKTV this year include W’s scripted drama Flack, starring Oscar winner Anna Paquin, and a six-part series with Stacey Dooley, Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over. Dave sees the return of scripted comedy Porters, now as a full six-part series and with the original cast joined by the BAFTA-nominated actor, Daniel Mays. Sliced, a new three-part comedy series written by Samson Kayo and Phil Bowker follows in the first half of this year, along with a ten-part adventure series, Expedition with Steve Backshall, as well as new series of Taskmaster and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier. And, Sir David Jason presents his own travelogue – David Jason: Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Gold.