Younger viewers turn to classics during lockdown
James R | On 29, May 2020
With people staying at home during the coronavirus lockdown, broadcasters and streaming services have seen a boost in box set bingeing. While new shows are always a draw for audiences, though, UKTV has found that young viewers have increasingly turned to classic telly for comfort viewing.
The network has seen a 55 per cent volume increase in 16-34s versus the pre-lockdown period, with April marking UKTV’s best SOCI (share of commercial impacts) performance for this demographic in six years. Classic shows such as The Vicar of Dibley, Only Fools & Horses and Gavin & Stacey feature in UKTV’s top 10 linear shows for that age group, alongside UKTV’s original titles such as Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, Hypothetical and Meet The Richardsons.
UKTV’s on-demand service, UKTV Play, has seen a 16 per cent volume increase in 16-34s using the platform and a 27 per cent increase in views to the service overall. Younger viewers are watching more vintage and factual shows on UKTV Play with Birds of a Feather and early episodes of Casualty, Classic EastEnders and The Bill all seeing upticks in 16-34 volume, alongside UKTV Originals such as Expedition with Steve Backshall and Borderforce: America’s Gatekeepers.
UKTV CEO Marcus Arthur comments: “Television can bring great comfort in these troubled times. We’re staying at home and the news is bleak, but escapist, entertaining and comforting TV can bring great joy. Shared viewing has increased by a quarter as families sit down together to watch TV and the boost in 16-34-year-olds visiting UKTV’s channels has contributed to the network’s strong growth in share of commercial impacts.
“It’s heartening to see younger viewers discovering iconic shows that have stood the test of time and are just as funny and engaging today as they were years ago. And our strategy of commissioning original programming on a bedrock of classics means new shows like the feature length Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, Big Zuu’s Big Eats and Meet The Richardsons offer audiences fresh and exciting programming alongside a vast catalogue of firm favourites.”
Red Dwarf: The Promised Land has been watched by over 2 million viewers, making it the highest rating show on the network during lockdown and the highest rating TX on Dave in seven years. Season 1 of Meet The Richardson’s attracted 1.13 viewers (TC – Total Consumption) and Hypothetical Season 2 achieved a strong 38 per cent 16-34 profile and 595k TC.
During lockdown UKTV has also seen viewers moving to its social channels, with Dave’s newly launched TikTok channel clocking over 1.6m views for one video alone. Digital content produced during lockdown includes Isolation Specials for Dave’s Podcast in association with CALM, Conversations Against Living Miserably and Big Zuu’s Big Eats which pivoted planned in-studio influencer cooking content into Isolation Eats, where grime artist Zuu remotely guided the likes of Grime Gran and Clara Amfo through some of his favourite recipes. Plus, Gold has hosted a virtual sitcom quiz on Facebook and Twitter, with rounds presented by John Challis, Ricky Tomlinson, Kevin McNally and Sian Gibson.