UKTV has had another good year.
The multi-channel broadcaster, which is a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive, has seen its profits (EBITDA) surge by some 8% to £91 million, from revenues of £345 million. Likewise, the broadcasters share of commercial impacts grew to 9.85%, placing them behind only ITV.
“UKTV is delivering well against its strategy, with record profit, revenue, and share of commercial linear and non-linear audiences”, said Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV. “Over the last three years we have increased UKTV’s profit by over a third, by investing smartly in UKTV Originals and making sure our shows are accessible to viewers on all major digital platforms.
Notably, revenues have grown by 24.1% (£277.8m to £344.8m) and EBITDA by 35.5% (£67.4m to £91.3m) in the past three years. The ratings and SOCI growth (and thus profits) was driven largely by UKTV’s commitment to exclusive and original content. Originals played a big part here – with eight of the top ten shows on Dave being original commissions such as Zapped, Taskmaster and Red Dwarf XI – and as such UKTV will be pushing ahead with plans to commission more original content going forward. The company spent some £150 million on originals in 2016.
It’s worth noting that UKTV remains a major buyer of U.S. scripted content for a number of their channel brands, including Alibi (Rosewood and Quantico), Dave (Suits and The Last Man On Earth), Drama (The Red Tent and Mercy Street) and the re-branded W (Code Black, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Grimm and Secrets & Lies). All of these aforementioned exclusive U.S. acquisitions also played a part in the ratings/SOCI growth story. Dave’s acquisitions Suits in particular is a big ratings performer, attracting a consolidated audience in excess of 400K viewers.
UKTV also saw some significant growth with non-linear and on-demand viewing on UKTV Play. This year, the VOD service has grown direct-to-consumer views by 51% year-on-year, driven by UKTV Play being made available on new platforms and devices. In addition to being available on web, Android, iOS, Virgin Media and Amazon Fire, UKTV Play is set to launch later this year on Sky Q, Sky+, Sky Go, the Sky Q app and NOW TV boxes.