UKTV’s originals push is paying off. Last year, original commissions were amongst the top-rated programmes on six of the channels (Dave, W, Gold, Drama, Yesterday and Really) across the network and also drove growth for VOD service UKTV Play.
“Our strategy of creating distinctive, ambitious and compelling new shows is continuing to pay off. I’m incredibly proud that for the first time, UKTV Originals were the top rating shows on six of UKTV’s channels and on UKTV Play last year”, said UKTV CEO Darren Childs.
The originals that topped the ratings charts for the channels were: Taskmaster on Dave, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies on W, Death On The Tyne on Gold, Murder On The Blackpool Express on Drama, Abandoned Engineering on Yesterday, and Inside the Ambulance on Really.
On Dave, which is the channel with the largest number of original commissions, four of the five highest rated shows were UKTV originals, namely: Taskmaster, Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier, Judge Romesh and Zapped. Taskmaster was also UKTV’s most popular series as a whole, with an average audience of 1.5 million viewers. Meanwhile on W, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies was the most watched show on the channel, with 753k viewers. Abandoned Engineering was the most popular show on Yesterday.
UKTV Play registered 140 million views in 2018, up 36% year-on-year. The VOD service did expand its reach last year by launching on Now TV and Roku streaming players, Freesat, Samsung TV and Go Media. Over 1.8 million users have signed up to UKTV Play since mandatory registration was introduced, with a third of the being in the 16-34 demo. Top performing shows on UKTV Play included Taskmaster, Judge Romesh and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier – all of which performed well with the 16-34 demon. Yianni Supercar Customiser also drew in a large 16-34-year-old audience, with 68% of viewers falling into this age range.
“UKTV is increasing investment into originations yet again and in partnership with top talent, both in front of and behind the camera, it’s enabling us to strengthen our catalogue of popular and critically acclaimed shows”, said Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning. “This year our aim is to grow original output even further with a series of network firsts. Flack, our first full blown drama series premieres on W in February. We’ll shortly be in production for a number of crime dramas for Alibi, and Steve Backshall will bring high octane specialist factual to Dave with the stunning Expedition. We want to build on our strong talent relationships too, Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over kicks off a revitalized slate for W which still has slots to fill and on Dave we’re looking for female fronted comedy entertainment shows to compliment other high performing hits, led by Taskmaster.”
With the success of the originals strategy, UKTV has no intention of slowing down in 2019. Their slate for the year ahead includes Flack, starring Anna Paquin, and Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over on W; the second season of Porters, with new cast addition Daniel Mays, three-part pizza delivery comedy Sliced, adventure series Expedition With Steve Backshall, and the new seasons of Taskmaster and Jon Richardson: Ultimate Worrier on Dave; while Sir David Jason presents his own travelogue, David Jason: Planes, Trains & Automobiles, on Gold.