The BBC Studios-owned broadcaster is the latest beneficiary of lockdown viewing with Drama boosted by the arrival of Drama+1 on Freeview.
UKTV reported a record share of commercial impacts for February and March , reaching 8.08% and 8.72% respectively.
Drama, which recently launched a +1 channel on Freeview remained the number one non-PSB owned channel in the UK. Its audience share is up 17% year-on-year, and March was its best month ever. Death in Holy Orders, the feature-length murder-mystery thriller based on the PD James book, consolidated to 696k viewers, the channel’s second highest ratings for a show ever and the most watched show on the channel for the year so far. Last Of The Summer Wine and Death in Paradise make up the other top shows on Drama for Q1 2021.
Younger viewers boosted Dave, with its share of 16-34 year old viewers up 20% on the same time in 2020. Across all age groups, Dave’s audience share grew 4% year-on-year. The growth was driven by original programming, including Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable, Meet the Richardsons (pictured above) and Hypothetical.
Factual channel Yesterday was also boosted by original programming, a trend that has been replicated across a variety of digital channels. Bangers and Cash series 4 opened to 648,000 viewers making it the strongest launch for the Yorkshire-based observational documentary series and the second highest performing episode of any show on the channel to date (outperformed only by another episode of Bangers & Cash in 2020). Secrets of the Transport Museum became the second best brand-new launch to date on the channel.
UKTV Original shows have proved popular with viewers on Gold and W. The Vicar of Dibley: Inside Out launched on 6th March on Gold to 577,000 viewers. It has also had a positive impact on viewing figures for the original Vicar of Dibley archive which is the third highest rating show on the channel for the quarter. On W, Emma Willis: Delivering Babies in 2020 has had one of the strongest 16-34 profiles for a UKTV commission on the channel with 66% of the show’s audience aged 16-34.
Streaming service UKTV Play enjoyed a 41% increase in direct-to-consumer views compared to the first three months of 2020, driven by The Bill: The Early Years and Yesterday’s returning original series Bangers and Cash, the sixth most popular title on the service.
Top performing UKTV channels
Year-on-year increases, 1Q.
Overall, UKTV’s seven channel network has seen its viewing share increase to 4.73% between January-March.
The latest set of figures means UKTV joins the growing list of broadcasters to have benefitted from increased lockdown viewing. UKTV’s data also confirms that viewers have been drawn to original programmes, rather than repeats. Channels that have invested in new and original programming have seen the biggest boosts during lockdown.