Advanced Television

Discovery UK reports “stellar growth” in 2019

January 15, 2020

During 2019, Discovery’s portfolio outperformed the TV market in the UK, increasing its audience by +7 per cent, in a market that declined by -4 per cent. Discovery UK achieved an average portfolio share of 4.2 per cent (A16+) over the year, which was an increase of 11 per cent YoY.  It celebrated its biggest one day share of 5.4 per cent on August 12th.

Discovery’s pay-TV channels saw record numbers of VoD requests in 2019, breaking over 60 million which was an increase of 26 per cent from 2018.

Key achievements during 2019:

Free to air channels


  • Quest achieved an average share of 1.5 per cent amongst men, which was an increase of +13 per cent YoY.  Its ratings successes were driven by a strong commissioning slate including Salvage Hunters, the #1 franchise on the channel, Salvage Hunters: Classic Cars & Salvage Hunters: The Restorers, Aussie Gold Hunters, Goblin Works Garage and The Repair Shop.
  • More than 15 million people watched sport on Quest including EFL highlights, British Superbike Championship, Home Nations Snooker and BDO World Darts Championship.
  • Over 8 million viewers watched Quest’s coverage of the 2018/19 EFL Highlights.


  • DMAX, the ‘more is more’ factual entertainment channel with an adventurous tone, was launched in the place of Travel Channel in January 2019.  Its audience grew 12 times in size following the change.  Key shows for DMAX during 2019 were Alaskan Bush People which achieved a ratings high of 193k, Alaska: The Last Frontier and Barnwood Builders.

Food Network

  • Following the close of the UKTV deal, the Good Food and Food Network channels were combined into one dedicated ‘Food Network’ creating the leading food channel in the UK. These changes resulted in Food Network achieving a record-breaking year, growing its share of adults 16+ by 33 per cent YoY and women + 46 per cent YoY. Nigella’s Christmas Kitchen achieved around 200k on the channel and was its biggest ever rating.

Quest Red

  • The free to air channel for women championing everyday heroes, continued its rapid growth, growing by +18 per cent year on year for adults 16+ and 19 percent for women. Success came off the back of UK commissions including The Bad Skin Clinic and Katie Price: My Crazy Life.

Pay-TV brands

Discovery Channel

  • Discovery Channel’s key content franchises continued to drive performance during 2019. Gold Rush achieved average audiences of 470k for its 10th series, growing 9 per cent from the previous series. Gold Rush spin-offs including Gold Rush: White Water, Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine and Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail also grew the franchise fanbase with average ratings of 305k, 250k and 240k respectively during 2019.  Other returning titles; Wheeler Dealers and Ed Stafford performed strongly.
  • Discovery Channel saw record numbers of VoD requests in 2019 hitting more than 25 million on its commercial partner sites.


  • TLC consolidated its position as the home of extraordinary real life stories and characters, with Wedding formats including Say Yes To The Dress Lancashire delivering average ratings of 204k per episode and Curvy Brides Boutique also performing strongly. Vicky Pattison: The Break Up hit 378k and became TLC’s biggest ever rating for women and ABC1 women.
  • Series 2 of Dr. Pimple Popper returned with an average of 264k per episode and a ratings high of 324k for the series.
  • We have also seen record numbers of VoD requests in 2019 hitting more than 22 million, and the TLC UK YouTube account hitting 1b views


  • During 2019, Eurosport grew its male audience share by +10 percent driven by a wide range of passion sports from the cycling Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España), tennis Grand Slams (Australian Open, Roland-Garros), Snooker World Championship, BDO World Championships and Africa Cup of Nations.

Other info

The Discovery portfolio achieved 1.9 billion video views on YouTube in 2019, up +60 per cent YoY.  The full FTA portfolio is now available on streaming service dplay, which launched in October 2019.

James Gibbons, EVP and GM, Discovery Networks UK, Ireland, ANZ said: “In a year that Discovery celebrated its 30th anniversary and consolidated its ownership of the former Scripps and UKTV services, we celebrated stellar growth, with our share increasing by 11 per cent organically, and 45 per cent including the UKTV channel integration.  We have focused single-mindedly on building passionate audiences in the key categories of lifestyle and entertainment, led by Clare Laycock, and factual and passion sport, led by Simon Downing. As a result we are now leaders in several important verticals, from Food to Weddings, and Motors to Cycling, delighting our engaged audiences.  We have more than doubled both our audience and commercial share to more than seven percent, delivering significant value for advertisers and our commercial partners.

“We are seeing burgeoning demand for our VoD content on partners platforms and a growing appetite for dplay, our AVoD direct to consumer streaming product. This year we will continue to increase our investment in great content, new products and services,” he concluded.

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