Things are looking up for UKTV. The commercial network, which is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, has unveiled their financial results for 2014 and revealed that revenue had surged to a record high £283 million, up from 2013’s £278 million – making UKTV the fastest growing broadcaster in Britain.
The revenue surge comes off of the back of a huge £123 million investment in content, which, across their ten channels, has seen UKTV commission such programmes as Storage Hunters UK, Crackanory, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Monty Python Live (Mostly) and Dave Gorman: Modern Life is Goodish. While high profile exclusive acquisitions have included Rizzoli & Isles, Crisis, Believe and The Strain.
That wealth of programming saw UKTV post year-to-year ratings growth of 8.5% with the network of ten channels achieving an audience share of 5.07%. On-demand service UKTV Play was also key, with the service seeing a 348% increase in views. Overall, UKTV is vying for the title of top non-PSB broadcaster, as award-winning channel Dave maintained its position as the most watched non-PSB channel in the country, while Drama ranks as the most successful British TV channel launch in five years.
It was this ratings performance that allowed UKTV to buck the market trend and grow their Share Of Commercial Impacts (SOCI) by 6.2%, while other UK broadcasters saw their SOCI fall by 3.7 %. In addition to increased revenue, that ratings/SOCI growth translated into a spike in profitability, with EBITDA at £72.2 million – a record all-time high which is itself up 10% from 2013’s £67.4 million.
UKTV, however, will not be resting on their laurels as they will be funnelling much of that profit back into the content budget – which “will grow significantly in 2015 – and thus fuel further growth. That growth is already filtering through, with the SOCI for Q1 2015 standing at a new record high of 9.4%.
“UKTV has now grown its share of the British commercial TV market to 9.4%, making our portfolio of channels vital for advertisers. This is the first time in the history of British television that a non-PSB channels business has played such a big role in the ratings, but expect much more from us. This is just the groundwork to ensure long term, future success for UKTV”, said UKTV CEO Darren Childs.
“We are significantly increasing our investment in brilliant content, both in what we spend on our outstanding UK originations and in our enviable collection of ‘best in class’ acquisitions from BBC as well as from C4, ITV and overseas”, he added. “We pay relentless attention to our ever-increasing reach and distribution, ensuring modern British viewers can enjoy our vibrant channels and imaginative shows, whichever kind of television provision and technology they have: free, pay or online only.”