UKTV Play heads to Sky and NOW TV as VOD investment increases
James R | On 20, Apr 2017
UKTV Play will head to Sky and NOW this year, as the broadcaster significantly steps up its investment in VOD.
Announcing its latest financial results today, UKTV reveals that it had a hugely successful 2016. Over the course of three years, revenues have grown by 24.1 per cent (£277.8m to £344.8m) and EBITDA is up 35.5 per cent (£67.4m to £91.3m). The strong financial performance has been driven by a consistent strategy of investment in UKTV’s brands, in digital distribution, and programming including UKTV Originals, which is helping attract larger audiences to UKTV channels.
Indeed, UKTV’s helped propel Dave to Best Entertainment Channel at the 2016 Broadcast Digital Awards and securing the network’s first International Emmy for Hoff The Record. The network’s ongoing commitment to spending on original shows will see the broadcaster bring back 16 returning UKTV Original series in 2017 for subsequent seasons – including Taskmaster, Red Dwarf and Zapped. This is double the number of returning series on the network from 2014 to 2015.
UKTV’s diverse programme mix, including premiere acquisitions and archive shows from the BBC, drove record growth of the network last yearm with UKTV’s year-end share of commercial impacts (SOCI) of 9.85 per cent. In particular, Dave and Drama retained their positions as the top two non-PSB channels in the UK, with Drama growing its share of viewing by 27 per cent through the popularity of older BBC titles, such as Death in Paradise and Inspector George Gently. UKTV’s new premium entertainment channel W also grew viewing through original shows such as John Bishop: In Conversation With.
UKTV Play, UKTV’s video on demand service, is the fastest growing part of the business, driven by the continued expansion of the service onto new platforms and devices and growing brand awareness. So far in 2017, the service has grown direct-to-consumer views by 51 per cent year-on-year. Recently UKTV unveiled a major update of UKTV’s Play on demand mobile app, available free on iOS and Android, featuring enhanced personalisation, a slick new interface and an extended selection of box sets.
Darren Childs, CEO, says: “UKTV is delivering well against its strategy, with record profit, revenue, and share of commercial linear and non-linear audiences. Over the last three years we have increased UKTV’s profit by over a third, by investing smartly in UKTV Originals and making sure our shows are accessible to viewers on all major digital platforms.”
In the coming year, UKTV will double down on its original content, with shows such as Porters, Into The Fire, Murder on the Blackpool Express and a new primetime format for W hosted by Davina McCall. But it will also be investing more in VOD. Later this year, Sky customers will be able to watch catch-up content from all of UKTV’s channels via a dedicated UKTV Play area on Sky Q, Sky+, Sky Go and Sky Q app. UKTV will also launch its UKTV Play app on Now TV boxes later in 2017.
“UKTV Play remains our fastest-growing and youngest brand – across content, marketing and increasing our capability to use data to better serve advertisers,” says Childs.