UKTV Play views surge 75pc as original content drive pays off
James R | On 09, Jan 2018
UKTV play has seen its views surge 75 per cent in the last year, as the broadcaster’s investment in original content continues to pay off.
UKTV, which is an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive Inc., airs across its ten-channel network a mixture of UKTV Originals and acquisitions from BBC, C4, ITV and more. It secured record ratings on linear TV with its originals in 2017, and that success was echoed online, with streaming activity rising by 75 per cent year-on-year.
Darren Childs, CEO, says: “We’re creating our own IP through UKTV Originals at a greater scale than ever before, and that’s allowed us to drive on demand viewing to new highs, as well as bringing new audiences to linear television. That ensures we can offer advertisers data-driven targeted advertising on demand, as well as advertising to mass broadcast audiences through our large, established, linear broadcast channels.”
UKTV Play is the broadcaster’s fastest growing brand and in 2017 recorded another hugely successful year. October saw UKTV Play’s best month ever, driven by UKTV Originals, Taskmaster and Red Dwarf XII, contributing to 21 per cent and 10 [er cent of the month’s views respectively.
Taskmaster is also the best performing programme on UKTV Play in the last year, with the preview of episode seven of the fifth season becoming the best performing preview ever on UKTV Play.
UKTV Play also continues to grow and launch on new platforms. This year, all shows on UKTV Play were added to Amazon Fire TV’s Universal Search – the first broadcaster in the UK to do so. 1,000 hours of catch-up TV also became available to Virgin Media Ireland customers, and in June, all UKTV channels became available via UKTV Play in the Catch-up section of Sky+ and Sky Q. This resulted in performance on Sky On Demand increasing by 55 per cent against the yearly average.
The broadcaster shows no signs of stopping its push for more original content. There has been a five-fold increase in the number of UKTV Original Productions over the past five years, with 50 currently in production. Top UKTV Originals this past year include Murder On The Blackpool Express (1.8m Total Consumption); Red Dwarf XII (2.04m) and International Emmy nominee, Taskmaster (1.4m).
The broadcaster worked with three times as many independent production companies in 2017 than in 2016 and across three times the number of genres, including comedy, entertainment, factual and sport, reinforcing UKTV’s position as a significant investor in the UK creative industry.
Leading the commissioning drive was Dave. The channel’s critically acclaimed UKTV Originals brought in younger audiences, taking eight of the top 10 slots in the channel’s ratings list for 2017 and bringing millions of users into TV on demand service UKTV Play.
Top shows on Dave, in addition to Red Dwarf and Taskmaster, include Taskmaster’s Christmas special, Champions of Champions, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish, Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit, Live Hayemaker Ringstar Fight Night, Zapped and Red Bull Soapbox.
In June, UKTV signed a TV rights deal with Hayemaker Ringstar, the three-year deal for Dave will see five fight nights broadcast free of charge per year. The next fight night will be on the 16th February.
“While the competitive challenges remain significant in television, we’re continuing to invest in creative storytelling and brilliant entertainment that our viewers love, and that makes me optimistic for the future,” adds Childs.
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