UKTV signals record viewership in 2016

UKTV Original, Taskmaster, on Dave

UKTV Original, Taskmaster, on Dave

Thursday 5th January 2017

  • UKTV's consolidated share of commercial viewership estimated to hit an all-time high of 9.87% for 2016
  • UKTV Play saw a 74% increase in views year on year
  • UKTV Originals made up six in 10 of highest rating shows on UKTV network last year
  • Eight of Dave's top 10 shows were UKTV Originals
  • Strongest Christmas period on record, including network's best day ever

UKTV, Britain's biggest multichannel broadcaster, is predicting it will register record-breaking growth in commercial audiences (SOCI) across the last 12 months.

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 CEO Darren Childs, said,

UKTV's focus on content, brand and digital has grown audiences to almost 10% of all commercial TV viewing. 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.

UKTV, which is an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive Inc. (SNI:NY), airs across its ten-channel network a mixture of UKTV Originals, smart acquisitions and the very best BBC programmes, which remain an important part of UKTV's offering and growth.

UKTV Originals

UKTV's strategy of bolstering schedules with bold, original programming continues to deliver results for the broadcaster, with viewing share up 7.3% in 2016[1]. In a significant shift, six of the top 10 rating shows on UKTV's network in 2016 were UKTV Originals, compared to only one in 2010. The broadcaster also worked with twice as many independent production companies in 2016 than in 2015, reinforcing UKTV's position as a significant investor in the UK creative industry.

Leading the commissioning drive was Dave, the country's most watched non-PSB channel, also named Best Entertainment Channel at the Broadcast Digital Awards. Dave's critically-acclaimed UKTV Originals brought in strong profile audiences, taking eight of the top 10 slots in the channel's ratings list for 2016 and bringing millions of users into TV on demand service UKTV Play. The list of top titles spans more genres than ever before and includes Red Dwarf XI (2.4 million Total Consumption), Live Boxing: David Haye v Mark De Mori (1.9m), Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish (1.1m), Taskmaster (1.3m), Celebrity Storage Hunters (1.4m), Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit (1.2m) and Zapped (1.1m) A new series of sharp-witted US acquisition Suits was also a top performer (737k).

TV On Demand

UKTV Play is the broadcaster's fastest-growing brand, with a 74% increase in direct-to-consumer views year on year. UKTV Originals perform well on the service; there was 179% growth in direct-to-consumer streams of originals from 2015. Downloads of the UKTV Play app were also up 98% year on year.

The hotly-anticipated Red Dwarf XI, which was the network's best performing show of the year, brought huge audiences into UKTV Play, with record-breaking numbers for the exclusive preview of the first episode, and a big drive for newly-launched user registration on Following a four month, multi-layered digital campaign for the launch of Red Dwarf X1, Google Analytics data showed social media drove 40% of traffic to on day one of the preview.

UKTV's video on demand views across all platforms are up 51% year on year[2].

TV channels

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%. UKTV Original John Bishop: In Conversation With James Corden pulled in 1.1m, and homegrown Inside the Ambulance 192k. Celebrity Haunted Hotel Live, which featured top talent including Christine Lampard, John Thomson and Jamelia, performed 244% up on slot. Brand new commissions Dr Christian Will See You Now, Dancing for the Weekend and The Dressing Room are coming to the channel in 2017.

Britain's favourite comedy channel Gold had success with new and returning UKTV Originals. The Rebel, starring Simon Callow, attracted an audience of 459k and a second series of Marley's Ghosts. starring John Hannah, Sarah Alexander and Jo Joyner was watched by 424k. Ambitious scripted comedy commissions Murder on the Blackpool Express and Henry IX launch on the channel this year.

Drama, which is the number two non-PSB channel and shows mainly BBC content, had its best year ever, having grown share of viewing by 27% in 2016. Peaking with a daily share of 2.05%, the channel exceeded half a million viewers 31 times with popular BBC shows Inspector George Gently, Death in Paradise and New Tricks bringing in big audiences.

Festive Period

The Christmas period[3] was a record-breaker, with the network achieving 6.84% share, up 3% on its previous best in 2015. UKTV achieved its highest daily share ever recorded - 8.04% on 28th December, beating the previous high 7.64% set on March 27th 2016. Gold - rebranded Christmas Gold for the festive period - had its best Christmas since 2013.

This year UKTV will broadcast brand new series of its rating hit UKTV Originals Red Dwarf, Taskmaster, Dara O Briain's Go 8 Bit, Crackanory, Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish and Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled. The broadcaster is also premiering new originations Joy of Techs, Used Car Wars, We Have Been Watching and Lizard Lick Touring, with more exciting originals to announce later this year.


[1] Viewing share of 5.64% in 2016 vs 5.26 in 2015

[2] Jan - Nov 16 vs Jan - Nov 15

[3] Christmas period - 20th Dec - 2nd Jan 2017 (Live+VOSDAL)

Stats Measurement

All data BARB Adults 16+ except programme data which is individuals.

Top performing programme lists are consolidated viewing. BARB consolidated ratings includes catch-up, or time-shifted, viewing that happened up to seven days after the original broadcast.

Programme viewing stats are all Total Consumption, unless otherwise stated. Total Consumption is the measurement of all viewing to a single premiere linear transmission of a show. It encompasses the overnight, PVR, VOD D2C and paid, narrative repeats within seven days of the broadcast window, and the 8-28 day PVR viewing within BARB.

SOCI figure is 2016 year-end forecast based on BARB data delivered via DDS.

For further information:

Kerry Parker, Head of Network Communications

Lara Feinstein, Network Communications Executive

About UKTV

UKTV is the biggest multichannel broadcaster in the UK.

The award-winning independent has eleven imaginative brands - UKTV Play, Dave, W, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really, Home, Eden and Good Food. These include the two most popular non-PSB channels in the UK and account for nearly 10% of the British commercial TV market. The company's most recent financial results showed record-breaking year-end revenue of £319m and EBITDA of £82m. It invested £148m in programming and related launches last year, and is becoming an increasingly significant investor in UK creativity.

UKTV has a truly innovative model, curating brand-defining commissions, high-profile acquisitions and the very best of BBC, alongside programmes originally shown on ITV and Channel 4. The network embraces technology to deliver inspired channels to audiences through Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat, Amazon Fire and UKTV Play, and distributes its highly valued original programmes to 200 territories.

Now celebrating over 20 years at the forefront of digital television, UKTV - an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) - is proud to be the only British television broadcaster in The Sunday Times top 100 companies list. / / @uktv_press