The broadcaster behind channels such as Dave, Gold and Alibi reported new records, helped by an increase in new and original programming on its channels.
Once known as a just a place to find repeats of shows shown on the main TV channels, UKTV continues to see strong demand for new and original programmes. In 2021, original programmes accounted for six of the top 10 shows of the year. Meanwhile, on-demand service UKTV Play added one million registered users over the last 12 months.
Top programmes of the year
Crime drama Annika (pictured) became Alibi’s top performing title. It was joined by Meet the Richardsons (Dave), Secrets of the London Underground (Yesterday), Hornby: A Model World (Yesterday), Bangers and Cash (Yesterday) and Mel Giedroyc: Unforgivable (Dave).
On comedy channel Gold, The Vicar of Dibley: Inside Out, became the channel’s most popular show of the year. It was watched by 829,000. Scripted original, Murder, They Hope took the second spot (687,000), followed by returning scripted series The Cockfields (490,000).
Meanwhile, Drama reported its best year on record, with its share of viewing among adults up 11% year-on-year. Gold was up 7% compared to 2020. Alibi saw viewing share increase by 5%. Dave gained popularity with 16-34 year olds, where it saw a 14% year-on-year growth.
Overall, UKTV’s audience share averaged 4.8% across all of its channels in 2021.
In 2022, the broadcast will celebrate a number of milestones: In November, Gold (launched as UK Gold) turns 30. And UKTV will mark 25 years since it launched its first bundle of channels. (UK Style, Horizons, Arena and Gold.) The move paved the way for the multi-channel service from UKTV still around today.
Commenting on the figures, Marcus Arthur, UKTV CEO said:
UKTV experienced strong growth in 2020 and to continue that momentum through 2021 is an incredible achievement. Our award-winning slate of UKTV Originals keeps going from strength to strength, with originations featuring six times in the top 10 shows across the network. UKTV’s drama commissioning has also reached new heights, with critically acclaimed Annika breaking records on Alibi, and shows such as Ragdoll exciting audiences in the UK and internationally. … In 2021 we also launched UKTV’s new digital content strategy with bespoke short-form commissions airing on Dave’s YouTube channel and Facebook page, acting as a gateway for younger viewers to engage with the brand and access our shows. As we look forward to 2022, we will continue UKTV’s growth trajectory by working closely with domestic and international production partners, investing smartly in content, and expanding the footprint of our much-loved brands.
- Alibi (pay TV)
- Dave (free-to-air)
- Drama (free-to-air)
- Eden (pay TV)
- Gold (pay TV)
- W (pay TV)
- Yesterday (free-to-air)
- UKTV Play (on-demand content from free-to-air channels)