Younger viewers turn to classics on UKTV during lockdown


27 May 2020

  • UKTV has seen a 55% volume increase in 16-34s during lockdown
  • Younger viewers are watching classic shows from early episodes of Casualty and The Bill to Only Fools & Horses and The Vicar of Dibley, alongside UKTV Originals such as Big Zuu's Big Eats and Red Dwarf: The Promised Land
  • Dave is the number one non-PSB owned channel for 16-34s
  • UKTV Play has seen a 16% volume increase in 16-34s and a 27% increase in views to the service overall

UKTV is outpacing television's general upward viewing trend during lockdown with its mix of bold originals and classic programming proving a hit with younger viewers. The network has seen a 55% volume increase in 16-34s versus the pre-lockdown period, with April marking UKTV's best SOCI (share of commercial impacts) performance for this demographic in six years.

Classic shows such as The Vicar of Dibley, Only Fools & Horses and Gavin & Stacey feature in UKTV's top 10 linear shows for 16-34s, alongside UKTV's original titles such as Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, Hypothetical and Meet The Richardsons. Plus, early data for brand new UKTV Original Big Zuu's Big Eats, which premiered on Dave in mid-May, reveals it is a hit with 16-34s with 47% of its audience falling into this age bracket.

As well as linear viewing, UKTV's on demand service, UKTV Play, has seen a 16% volume increase in 16-34s using the platform and a 27% increase in views to the service overall. Younger viewers are watching more vintage and factual shows on UKTV Play with Birds of a Feather and early episodes of Casualty, Classic EastEnders and The Bill all seeing upticks in 16-34 volume, alongside UKTV Originals such as Expedition with Steve Backshall and Borderforce: America's Gatekeepers.

UKTV CEO Marcus Arthur commented:

Television can bring great comfort in these troubled times. We're staying at home and the news is bleak, but escapist, entertaining and comforting TV can bring great joy. Shared viewing has increased by a quarter as families sit down together to watch TV and the boost in 16-34-year-olds visiting UKTV's channels has contributed to the network's strong growth in share of commercial impacts.

It's heartening to see younger viewers discovering iconic shows that have stood the test of time and are just as funny and engaging today as they were years ago. And our strategy of commissioning original programming on a bedrock of classics means new shows like the feature length Red Dwarf: The Promised Land, Big Zuu's Big Eats and Meet The Richardsons offer audiences fresh and exciting programming alongside a vast catalogue of firm favourites

The UKTV network is reaching a higher volume of young people more frequently with weekly reach up 22% and daily reach up 37.8%. UKTV's entertainment channels have also seen big SOCI gains in recent weeks with Dave now the biggest non-PSB owned channel for 16-34s. Dave and Gold have each increased their 16-34 profiles by 3 percentage points (to 19% and 16% respectively). Overall, the network has added 0.70 of a SOCI point during the lockdown period with its share of commercial impacts rising to 8.25% (an increase of 9%).

Red Dwarf: The Promised Land has been watched by over 2 million viewers, making it the highest rating show on the network during lockdown and the highest rating TX on Dave in seven years. Series one of Meet The Richardson's attracted 1.13 viewers (TC - Total Consumption) and Hypothetical series two achieved a strong 38% 16-34 profile and 595k TC.

During lockdown UKTV has also seen viewers moving to its social channels, with social media mentions up 555% vs. pre-lockdown. Dave's newly launched TikTok channel has clocked over 1.7m views for one video alone, and engagement on Twitter and Facebook is up by 202% and 149% respectively. Digital content produced during lockdown includes Isolation Specials for Dave's Podcast in association with CALM, Conversations Against Living Miserably and Big Zuu's Big Eats which pivoted planned in-studio influencer cooking content into Isolation Eats, where grime artist Zuu remotely guides the likes of Grime Gran and Clara Amfo through some of his favourite recipes. Plus, Gold has celebrated its role as home of the nation's favourite comedies by hosting a virtual sitcom quiz on Facebook and Twitter, with rounds hosted by John Challis, Ricky Tomlinson, Kevin McNally and Sian Gibson.

Over the coming months viewers have even more UKTV Original shows to look forward to starting tonight with new six-part crime drama series We Hunt Together on Alibi, starring Eve Myles and Babou Ceesay.

Notes to editors

Stats Measurement

Pre lockdown period 17th February to 15th March. Post lockdown period 16th March to 4th May.

For social stats pre lockdown period is 17th February to 15th March. Post lockdown period is 16th March to 30th April.

SOCI performance for 16-34S based on full month of April 2020.

Daily and Weekly Reach is based on post lockdown: 16th March to 3rd May for full week to be included.

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. Data Ran - 11th May 2020.

Top Programmes for 16-34s - based on Max 000s, 7 day consolidated individual (4+) - at a franchise level.

Total Consumption for Red Dwarf: The Promised Land based on 24 days since last same week rpt (data ran 11th May).

UKTV Play growth figures are for the direct to consumer service based on post lockdown: 16th March to 10th May for full week to be included.

For more information, please contact:

Kerry Goode, Head of Comms, UKTV Network and BBC Studios Distribution, UK

Ali Laurie, Network Communications Executive, UKTV

About UKTV

UKTV has been at the forefront of branded television for over 25 years, entertaining the nation with programmes they love. Its leading brands - Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday - span comedy, entertainment, natural history, factual and drama, and are delivered to audiences through UKTV Play, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, YouView, Freesat and Amazon Fire. The broadcaster is a significant investor in British creativity and is committed to working with new and established writers, directors and programme-makers.

UKTV is part of BBC Studios, the UK's most-awarded production company, a world-class distributor with international branded services, and a commercial subsidiary of the world's leading public service broadcaster, the BBC. | | @uktvpress