UKTV Originals are driving rapid growth among younger viewers on UKTV Play, with Taskmaster and more fuelling a 36 per cent increase in views last year.
UKTV has been increasingly investing in new and original content for its network of channels, which include Dave, Gold, Drama, Yesterday and Really. That focus on exclusive content has paid off, with UKTV Originals topping 2018’s ratings on those six channels. The top three shows on UKTV’s network last year were UKTV Originals – Taskmaster, Death on the Tyne and Murder on The Blackpool Express
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).
That success has also translated into on-demand viewing, with Taskmaster the most-watched show on UKTV’s free streaming service, followed by UKTV Originals Judge Romesh and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier. UKTV Play saw a 36 per cent increase in views year-on-year, generating over 140 million views in 2018.
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% of registered viewers who watched Taskmaster being aged 16-34, 45% for Judge Romesh and 63% for Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier. In addition, Yianni Supercar Customiser, drew in a large 16-34-year-old audience with 68% of viewers falling into this age range. In 2018, UKTV also increased distribution of UKTV Play, launching the service on Now TV and Roku streaming players, Freesat, Samsung TV and Go Media.
Darren Childs, UKTV CEO, said: “Our strategy of creating distinctive, ambitious and compelling new shows is continuing to pay off. 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… provides a data rich environment for targeted advertising.”
Brand new programmes coming to UKTV for 2019 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 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 10-part adventure series, Expedition with Steve Backshall, as well as new series of Taskmaster and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier. And, Sir David Jason will present his own travelogue – David Jason: Planes, Trains & Automobiles on Gold.