UKTV Play passes 3 million users
Staff Reporter | On 22, Jan 2020
UKTV Play now has more than 3 million users, after a year of notable investment and development for the catch-up platform.
The steaming app began 2019 with an upgrade that introduced machine learning to personalise each user’s experience, building on a 36 per cent year-on-year increase of views to more than 140 million in 2018. At that point, 1.8 million users had signed up to the service, a third of whom were aged 16-34. By the end of January 2019, the platform had exceeded 2 million registered users.
The year also saw UKTV add live-streaming of Dave, Drama, Yesterday, Really and Home to the VOD service, with more than 2.3 million users registered by April. UKTV Play also launched on Apple TV, expanding the platform’s reach.
As of January 2020, the on-demand service is the fastest growing brand for the multichannel commercial broadcaster, with views up 43 per cent year-on-year in 2019.
Following the BBC Studios acquisition in June 2019, when Marcus Arthur was appointed CEO, UKTV has seen a strong uplift in viewing numbers across its network. UKTV Original commissions saw their best year ever, accounting for seven out of the top 10 programmes across the broadcaster’s channels. UKTV Originals also accounted for eight out of the 10 top shows for younger audiences (16-34s) as well as ABC1 audiences across the network.
UKTV Originals have consistently proven the most watched titles on UKTV Play too. Popular originals include 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).
Marcus Arthur, President of BBC Studios UK & Ireland and CEO of UKTV says: “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.”
“Our vibrant channel brands foster loyalty in an increasingly complex landscape and offer advertisers targeted reach and a safe environment for their ad campaigns. Looking ahead we are set for growth with ambitious plans for our original commissioning and innovation across video-on-demand. We are looking to operate on a worldwide scale, creating bold, ambitious shows building on our 2019 UKTV Original successes.”
New shows coming to the UKTV network in 2020 include Red Dwarf for Dave along with a second season of Hypothetical, grime artist Big Zuu’s Big Eats, as well as a second commissioned crime drama for Alibi, We Hunt Together. Hat Trick Production’s Flack starring Anna Paquin as a high-flying celebrity PR, returns in March on W and new sitcom Meet the Richardsons starring Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont arrives on Dave in February. Sandylands, featuring Natalie Dew, Sanjeev Bhaskar, David Walliams, Sophie Thompson, Craig Parkinson and Hugh Bonneville, will be coming to Gold in March.