UKTV Originals account for seven of the top 10 programmes, SoCI increased by 5% since June 2019 and 4% across the year while UKTV Play became the fastest growing brand year-on-year up 43%.
“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.”- Marcus Arthur, President of BBC Studios UK & Ireland and CEO of UKTV
UKTV has announced that its network grew by 4% in 2019, with its flagship comedy channel, Dave, ranked number one non-PSB channel for 16-34s. Following the BBC Studios acquisition in June 2019, when Marcus Arthur was appointed CEO, UKTV has seen a strong uplift in viewing numbers across the network.
UKTV Original commissions accounted for seven of the top 10 programmes with a strong performance in the 16-34 and ABC1 demographics. Drama and Yesterday both saw gains in 2019 and finished the year as two of the top 10 non-PSB channels. The former achieved its best year ever since its launch in 2013.
Top performing UKTV originals include Taskmaster, Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes (Gold), Emma Willis: Delivering Babies (W), Traces (Alibi), Hypothetical (Dave) and Expedition with Steve Backshall, co-commissioned with BBC Two (Dave).
The UKTV seven channel portfolio also grew its adult SoCI by 5% following the BBC Studios’ acquisition of the business while overall there was a 14% increase in younger audiences (16-34s). The broadcaster increased overall adult SoCI year-on-year from a five-year low of 7.48% in 2018 to 7.76% in 2019 making it the fifth biggest network in the UK. The growth was achieved despite the separation of three channels Really, Good Food and Home.
On demand service UKTV Play saw views up 43%, ending the year with more than three million registered users. Acquisitions and BBC archive continued to supply a consistent flow of viewer favourites. Acquired titles include Harrow and Waco on Alibi, The Brokenwood Mysteries on Drama, Masterchef Australia on W, Would I lie To You on Dave and Train Truckers on Yesterday.
Seven out of 10 BBC archive shows delivered the highest percentage of ratings across the year. Last of the Summer Wine, New Tricks, Top Gear, Death in Paradise, Only Fools and Horses, Father Brown and QI XL were all strong performers. Death in Paradise and Call the Midwife attracted the fifth and eighth biggest audiences across the network with 618k viewers and 528k on top performing episodes respectively.
“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 including Traces, Expedition with Steve Backshall, and new for 2020, We Hunt Together.” – Marcus Arthur, President of BBC Studios UK & Ireland and CEO of UKTV
UKTV Ventures, a multi-million-pound airtime for equity investment fund, reached its first full year of operations in 2019. The fund completed £1million investments into PitPat, a pet tech start-up offering a dog activity monitor. Across sustainability initiatives, UKTV commissioned Expedition with Steve Backshall, the first carbon neutral production for the broadcaster.
The Dave partnership with mental health charity The Campaign Against Living Miserably in 2019 was a year-long corporate social responsibility (CSR) on-air campaign which included two ad break takeovers, commissioned brand new series titled Comedy Against Living Miserably due to air in 2020, a branded podcast and off-air channel advertising campaign.
The broadcaster is now looking forward to the year ahead – hoping it’ll be as strong as the last – with shows such as Red Dwarf, Hypothetical, Big Zuu’s Big Eats, Flack, Meet the Richardsons and Sandylands.