UKTV says its consolidated share of commercial viewership is expected to reach an all-time high of 9.87% in 2016.
The broadcaster behind brands including Dave, Gold and Drama, said its on demand service UKTV Play had recorded a 74% increase in views year-on-year.
With audience researcher Barb still to finalise its 2016 data, UKTV is projecting 7.7% growth of its SOCI to a record year-end high of 9.87%, putting it ahead of Channel 5’s full portfolio and all of Sky’s wholly-owned channels (including movies and sport) for the second year running, and closing the gap with the ITV Digital channels group.
“UKTV’s focus on content, brand and digital has grown audiences to almost 10% of all commercial TV viewing,” said UKTV CEO Darren Childs. “In 2016 we broadened into new genres and built the popularity of programming such as Taskmaster, Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit and live sport. UKTV Play also grew VOD viewing by 74%, with more viewers coming in to our vibrant TV on demand service than ever before.”
In addition to its long-running output deal with BBC Worldwide, the BBC Worldwide-Scripps joint venture has increasingly introduced original productions, such as new seasons of long-running comedy Red Dwarf, which received a total audience of 2.4 million.
A key moment in 2016 was the launch of UKTV’s premium entertainment channel W in February. The channel achieved 5% growth in adult share year on year (versus Watch, which formerly took the slot), with viewership amongst the target female audience up by 20%.