Advanced Television

Discovery UK sees record Q1 audience

April 9, 2021

Discovery UK has delivered its strongest ever Q1 in 2021, its 10th consecutive year of Q1 growth; growing its share of adults by 7 per cent year-on-year, up from 4.7 per cent in Q1 2020 to hit 5 per cent.

This followed the portfolio’s strongest year on record in 2020, which saw its share of adults grow by 17 per cent year-on-year, up from 4.3 per cent in 2019 to hit 5 per cent. Linear success was accompanied by the launch of discovery+ direct-to-consumer and on Sky Q in November 2020.


Discovery UK built on momentum from 2020 to hit record Q1 audiences in 2021. It’s portfolio of 15 free-to-air and pay-TV channels grew its adult share by 7 per cent year-on-year, reaching over 32 million viewers a month. The portfolio achieved year-on-year share growth for adults (+7 per cent) and ABC1s (+3 per cent). In addition, HGTV (+41 per cent), Quest (+16 per cent), Quest Red (+21 per cent), Food Network (+6 per cent), Discovery Channel (+3 per cent), Eurosport (+8 per cent), and ID (+18 per cent) all experienced growth.

Following its rebrand from Home in January 2020 HGTV has seen substantial growth, growing its share of adults by 41 per cent, with awareness up by 82 per cent. While Quest, Quest Red, Food Network and ID all delivered their biggest Q1s on record, growing by 16 per cent, 21 per cent, 6 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. Discovery Channel had its biggest quarter in five years, up by 3 per cent, while Eurosport 1 delivered its biggest month (February 2021) in five years boosted by coverage of the Australian Open tennis and Welsh Open snooker.


Discovery UK’s ongoing investment in original commissions and franchises for its portfolio drove record Q1 growth in 2021. An episode of Salvage Hunters (Quest) hit 928k on 24th March –  becoming Discovery UK’s biggest ever rating, and the first episode to break 900k across the network. Local commissions continue to drive ratings with Yorkshire Auction House (Really), The Bad Skin Clinic (Quest Red) and Tom Kerridge American Feasts (Food Network) amongst the top performing shows, and Wheeler Dealers (Discovery Channel) and Ty Breaker (HGTV) also performing strongly.


discovery+ launched direct-to-consumer and on Sky Q in the UK in November 2020. Local Originals including Faking It: Jimmy Savile, Prince Andrew, Maxwell & Epstein, Donald Trump: A Faking it Special and What Killed Maradona? have driven uptake of the service, alongside global franchises 90 Day Fiancé, Gold Rush and Ghost Adventures.

James Gibbons, EVP General Manager UK & Nordics, said: “To achieve record linear growth alongside the successful launch of discovery+ is an incredible accomplishment and testament to the robust appetite for Discovery’s real-life content, served on consumers’ platform and product of choice. Our ongoing investment in British shows across the reality, true crime, paranormal, adventure, natural history, home and food categories – to complement our global franchises – continues to attract passionate fans. With content investment increasing year-on-year and new shows launching on our platforms every week, there’s much for viewers to look forward to in 2021.”

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