2020 sees UKTV celebrate increase in network share

UKTV has announced that its channels and VOD service, UKTV Play, saw strong growth for share of commercial impacts (SOCI) and channel viewing in 2020.

“At the start of last year no one could have predicted what was in store. The global pandemic turned life upside down and businesses were forced to quickly adapt and pivot to new ways of working. I’m incredibly proud of how the team came together during our first full year under BBC Studios ownership and embraced UKTV’s unique challenger spirit to drive the business forward.” – UKTV’s CEO, Marcus Arthur

Share of Commercial Impacts

UKTV grew its SOCI by 4% in 2020, up from 7.76% in 2019 to hit 8.07%. The network also grew its 16-34 SOCI from 5.61% to 5.82%.  During the first lockdown, UKTV added over 0.9 SOCI points (16 March to 14 June vs 6 Jan to 15 March) and broke its own SOCI record in May. In fact, six out of 10 of UKTV’s biggest ever SOCI months were in 2020.

“While the pandemic temporarily paused production, UKTV was uniquely positioned with an incredibly rich archive of content which has been a much-appreciated source of joy for our viewers. This, alongside our strong pipeline of Originals, helped to deliver growth across all metrics in 2020.” – UKTV’s CEO, Marcus Arthur

UKTV network and channels growth

UKTV’s seven-channel network grew its viewing share by 3.2% last year to 4.63%, reaching over 18 million viewers a week. The network achieved year-on-year share growth for adults (+3.2%), 16-34s (+2.3%) and ABC1s (+5.3%). In addition, Dave (+3.0%), Drama (+9.6%), Gold (+1.7%), Eden (+2.9%) and Alibi (+7.1%) experienced growth, with Drama maintaining its position as the number one non-PSB owned channel in the UK.

The network also grew its social presence, launching Dave on TikTok and clocking up over 21m views for its video content across social platforms, as well as doubling down on YouTube by reinvigorating its Dave YouTube channel.

“We will continue to build on this momentum throughout 2021 by increasing investment in original programming, strengthening our partnerships with the production community, and by growing our video on demand service, UKTV Play. We also look forward to outlining our growth strategy for key areas of podcasts and digital content.” – UKTV’s CEO, Marcus Arthur

Programming

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land (Dave), Meet the Richardsons (Dave), Ricky & Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip (Gold), Bangers & Cash (Yesterday) and Red Dwarf: The First Three Million Years (Dave) were the highest rating shows on the network with Red Dwarf: The Promised Land becoming Dave’s most watched show in seven years (2.02 million, total consumption). Yorkshire classic car auction series Bangers & Cash also drove big numbers to Yesterday and became the highest rating show in the channel’s history*, watched by 671k.

“The March lockdown put a stop to almost all of UKTV’s productions, but since then the team have been working hard with our production partners to get every genre back up and running. We also focussed our creative energies on an important development period. 2021 will see our biggest ever investment in originations and we wanted to make sure that we were ready to go with our strongest slate yet.” – Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning

On Dave, which achieved its best SOCI performance since 2016, the success of Red Dwarf: The Promised Land was followed by Meet the Richardsons, which was watched by 1.13 million, making it the strongest launch of a brand-new original series on Dave in five years**. Big Zuu’s Big Eats had one of the strongest ever 16-34 profiles of a UKTV Original on Dave, with 55% of the show’s audience aged 16-34.

Alibi’s new scripted drama We Hunt Together became the highest rating show on the channel in 2020, watched by 602k. Produced by BBC Studios and written by Gaby Hull (Cheat, Two Weeks to Live), the 6×60’ series has been commissioned for a second outing, joining Traces which will return to Alibi later this year, alongside brand new original drama series Annika, starring Nicola Walker.  In addition, acquired content performed strongly on Alibi, with stand-out performances from Miss Scarlet and the Duke, Tommy, Stumptown, and Hudson and Rex.

Gold proved a hit during the turbulence of last year as viewers sought out nostalgia and comforting family favourites, resulting in the channel’s best Q2 SOCI performance since 2011. However, it was once again UKTV Originals that topped the ratings chart. Ricky & Ralf’s Very Northern Road Trip was the best performing title on Gold and achieved the accolade of being the biggest ever non-scripted title on the channel watched by 818k. Original scripted comedy, Sandylands, was second, followed by a third UKTV Original, The Fast Show: Just A Load Of Blooming Catchphrases.

Drama enjoyed a record-breaking year, recording its best quarterly shares ever in Q2 and Q3 and achieving its highest ever SOCI in May (2.8% SOCI share). Yesterday also tasted SOCI success in May with its highest SOCI since 2014 and once again, UKTV Originals were the highest performing titles on the channel. The superb performance of Bangers & Cash, winner of two regional RTS awards, was followed by Dad’s Amy: The Lost episodes (567k) and The Architecture The Railways Built (502k). On W, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies picked up its second consecutive Broadcast Digital Award for Best Popular Factual. The channel also grew SOCI and saw strong performances from Masterchef Australia and Inside the Ambulance. Finally, Eden grew its impacts by 70% in August with stand-out performances from the BBC’s blue-chip natural history programming including Dynasties and Spy in the Snow.

“Even with the reduction in premieres last year, we broke new ground, delivering UKTV’s first BAFTA, Yesterday’s highest ever rating show and Dave’s best launch in seven years. The BAFTA is an achievement that we’ll certainly savour, but with more new, ambitious scripted shows, innovative comedy entertainment and high quality factual than ever in the pipeline, we intend to be in the running for many more awards.” – Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning

UKTV Play

UKTV’s video on demand service, UKTV Play, grew its direct-to-consumer views by 42% in 2020 and increased registered users by 45% to 4.45million. The service is available on 21 platforms and across pay and free it is on target to achieve 243m views, which will be an increase of 17% on 2019’s total.  Standout hits on the service included Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, The Bill: The Early Years, Meet The Richardsons, EastEnders and Hypothetical.

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