UKTV Play launches revamped website
James R | On 11, Jun 2016
UKTV Play has been given a fresh lick of paint online with the launch of a new and improved website.
The VOD service’s revamped design places a new emphasis no the diversity of content available to catch up with: the cleaner homepage has a tile-based layout that highlights the original and most popular titles available on each of UKTV’s free channels: Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama. (Drama joined Dave, Yesterday and Really on UKTV Play’s line-up last year, contributing to a 26 per cent increase in views year-on-year.)
Users can also browse programmes by genre, including Comedy, Paranormal, Drama, Documentaries and Science and Nature. A dedicated “Box Sets” menu also presents the programmes available for binge-viewing, including original shows such as Dave Gorman: Modern Life Is Goodish. Users can then add programmes to their “My Shows” list to work through at a later date.
The new look UKTV Play, based on extensive A/B testing, is now available on PC, with other platforms to follow. Indeed, the updated site is unveiled as UKTV continues to expand its VOD presence, with a new app launching imminently on Freeview Play devices, adding the same features for Freeview Play customers. (With recent launches of UKTV Play on BT and Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, only Roku is the major absentee in the list of UKTV Play-supported devices.)
UKTV has also recently appointed Simon Michaelides as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) to help accelerate the commercial impact of the VOD side of the network, including UKTV Play. Indeed, the VOD service is enjoying a bumper year. Views on the catch-up site surged 26 per cent in 2015, compared to 2014, with episodes of US shows Suits and The Last Man on Earth, plus Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Sin City Motors and The Bill, all fuelling the growth. Easter, in particular, saw 2016 get off to a cracking start, with UKTV Play seeing views surging 185 per cent year-on-year across the long Bank Holiday weekend. In Q1 2016, UKTV Play achieved a record-breaking 81 per cent year-on-year growth.
Original content has been a key driver of UKTV’s success in recent years. The company’s investment in programming and launches jumped 20 per cent in 2015, from £123m to £148m. Now, UKTV Play is used to premiere the return of each original show – and the redesigned homepage puts them front and centre. Broadcast award-nominated Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, for example, returns to Dave on Saturday 11th June at 10pm for a fourth season, but Episode 1 (featuring Stephen Fry and other guests) is already available to watch online exclusively through UKTV Play.
Update (15.06.16): Official comment from UKTV added
UKTV Play’s General Manager Emma Boston comments: “UKTV Play has a vast and diverse catalogue of quality shows, which caters for everyone’s ‘thing’, whether that’s a love of drama or obsession with true crime. We wanted to reward users with an even better UKTV Play, and rigorous A/B testing has allowed us to develop a brilliant new streamlined interface to ensure visitors can find something great to watch in seconds. The new look site is set against an aesthetic, clean white background to give it a premium feel that mirrors the quality of our content. Our research shows that once people come in to use UKTV Play, they’re very likely to keep coming back, so it’s crucial their experience is first class every time.”
The product update coincides with the launch of UKTV Play’s first heavyweight marketing campaign. The on- and off-air ‘Love Your Thing’ creative will celebrate the diversity of TV that Britain holds dear, from cutting-edge comedy to historical documentary, ghostly adventures to period drama. The campaign recognises the passion that exists around certain types of programming, and affectionately dubs this people’s ‘thing’.
“Whatever a viewer’s ‘thing’ is, UKTV Play loves and celebrates it, in a world where on demand TV is globally homogenised,” says the company.
UKTV Play has also this year been shortlisted for Best Digital Video Platform/Service in the Broadcast Digital Awards for the second year running, alongside established market players All 4, BBC iPlayer and The ITV Hub. The app has now been downloaded 1 million times.