Red Dwarf drives record year for UKTV, as on-demand views soar
James R | On 05, Jan 2017
UKTV enjoyed a record year in 2016, with TV ratings hitting an all-time high and on-demand views soaring.
Britain’s biggest multichannel broadcaster, UKTV is predicting it will register record-breaking growth in commercial audiences (SOCI) across the last 12 months.
UKTV is projecting 7.7 per cent growth of its SOCI to a record year-end high of 9.87 per cent, putting it ahead of Channel 5’s full portfolio and all of Sky’s wholly-owned channels (including movies and sport) for the second year running.
UKTV’s strategy of investing in original programming continues to deliver results: six of the top 10 rating shows on UKTV’s network in 2016 were UKTV Originals, compared to only one in 2010. Leading the commissioning drive was Dave, the country’s most watched non-PSB channel, also named Best Entertainment Channel at the Broadcast Digital Awards. Dave’s originals made up eight of the top 10 slots in the channel’s ratings list for 2016, including shows such as Red Dwarf XI, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, Taskmaster and Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit.
As well as live viewing, the originals are bringing millions of users to UKTV’s catch-up service, UKTV Play. In the last year, downloads of the UKTV Play app have doubled (up 98 per cent), with Red Dwarf in particular bringing “huge audiences” into UKTV Play. The first episode was available to watch online exclusively through UKTV Play, driving record-breaking views, as well as a big drive for new user registrations. Google Analytics data shows that social media drove 40 per cent of traffic to uktvplay.co.uk on day one of the preview, as positive word of mouth fuelled on-demand viewing. The result was the network’s best performing show of the year.
Red Dwarf is just one of several originals boosting UKTV’s on-demand presence: the streaming platform saw a 74 per cent increase in direct-to-consumer views year on year, with views of originals on the site jumping 179 per cent. Overall, UKTV’s VOD views across all platforms jumped 51 per cent year-on-year.
“UKTV’s focus on content, brand and digital has grown audiences to almost 10 per cent of all commercial TV viewing,” says UKTV’s CEO, Darren Child. “In 2016 we broadened into new genres and built the popularity of programming such as Taskmaster, Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit and live sport. UKTV Play also grew VOD viewing by 74 per cent, with more viewers coming in to our vibrant TV on demand service than ever before.”
With 2016 ending on a record-breaking Christmas period for the network – 6.84 per cent share of the market, up 3 per cent on its previous best in 2015 – UKTV is already pushing ahead with its original content for 2017. This year, it will broadcast brand new seasons of Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit, Crackanory, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish and Alan Davies As Yet Untitled. The broadcaster is also premiering new originals Joy of Techs, Used Car Wars, We Have Been Watching and Lizard Lick Touring, with more to announce later this year.