Original programming, VOD fuel 2019 growth for UKTV | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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High demand for on-demand and original content in generally has added up to a strong 2019 for leading UK commercial broadcaster UKTV during 2019.
UKTV 21Jan2020
The network which was bolstered by a BBC Studios acquisition in June 2019, which saw Marcus Arthur appointed CEO and since when the company has reported a strong uplift in viewing numbers across its network.

Overall, UKTV network grew by 4% in terms of audience numbers in 2019, with its flagship comedy channel, Dave, ranked number one non-UK public service broadcaster (PSB) channel for 16-34s. Bumper viewing over the festive period contributed to driving share of commercial impacts (SoCI) to 7.76% for 2019, compared with 7.48% for 2018.

The company’s original commissions were said to have seen their best-ever year in 2019, accounting for seven out of the top ten programmes across the network. UKTV Originals also accounted for eight out of the ten top shows for younger audiences (16-34s) as well as ABC1 audiences across the network. Among the most-popular original programmes were Taskmaster, Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes (Gold), The Cockfields (Gold), Dial M for Middlesbrough (Gold), Emma Willis: Delivering Babies (W), Traces (Alibi), Hypothetical (Dave) and Expedition with Steve Backshall, co-commissioned with BBC Two (Dave) among others.

The Drama and Yesterday channels each saw gains in 2019 and finished the year as two of the top 10 non-PSB channels. Drama achieved its best year ever since its launch in 2013.

UKTV’s seven-channel portfolio grew its adult SoCI by 5% following the BBC Studios’ acquisition and the broadcaster also saw a 14% increase for younger audiences (16-34s). Growth was achieved despite the post-acquisition separation of three channels Really, Good Food and Home. The broadcaster increased overall adult SoCI year-on-year from a five-year low of 7.48% in 2018 to 7.76% in 2019 making it the fifth biggest network in the UK. VOD service UKTV Play became the fastest growing brand for the broadcaster year-on-year with views up 43%, ending the year with more than three million registered users.

Acquisitions and the BBC archive continued supplied a flow of popular programmes including Harrow and Wacoon Alibi, The Brokenwood Mysteries on Drama, Masterchef Australia on W, Would I lie To You on Dave and Train Truckers on Yesterday. Seven out of 10 BBC archive shows delivered the highest percentage of ratings across the year. Strong performing shows included; Last of the Summer Wine, New Tricks, Top Gear, Death in Paradise, Only Fools and Horses, Father Brown and QI XL. Death in Paradise and Call the Midwife. On the Gold channel, UKTV Original Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes was the highest rating programme, with the first episode watched by 963,000 viewers.

Commenting on the yearly performance, Marcus Arthur said: “We are a significant investor in British creativity and committed to working with new and established on and off-screen talent and producers, which has been demonstrated by our strong slate and success in 2019. We’ve more than doubled our development budget in the last 12 months and worked with nine new production partners.”

Looking ahead, UKTV said that it had ‘ambitious’ plans within original commissioning and innovation across video-on-demand and that it was looking to operate on a worldwide scale.