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 thanks to both originals and archive programming.

UKTV hit 8.07% share of commercial impacts (SOCI), with year-on-year growth of 4%. Its network share grew by 3.2% to achieve 4.63%.

Its channels Dave, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Gold all grew channel share. Dave (+3.0%), Drama (+9.6%), Gold (+1.7%), Eden (+2.9%) and Alibi (+7.1%).

UKTV Originals delivered the top five rating programmes on the network with 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)  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.

UKTV’s CEO, Marcus Arthur, said: “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. 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.

“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.”

Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning, said: “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.

“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.”


Jon Creamer

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