UKTV is celebrating its most successful year after record-breaking viewing puts it neck and neck with terrestrial FTA pubcaster Channel 5’s full portfolio and all of Sky’s wholly-owned channels, including movies and sport, for the first time.

In 2015 UKTV grew its share to 5.27 per cent (from 5.08 per cent in 2014) and as of the 26th December it delivered 9.27 per cent SOCI (share of commercial impacts), putting it marginally ahead of the Channel 5 portfolio (9.26 per cent) and Sky branded channels (9.25 per cent), in a race to the finish line.

UKTV’s increased investment in original programming has contributed to the network’s record-breaking viewing in 2015, up 3.7 per cent year on year. Official Barb data shows that smash hit commissions Storage Hunters UK Celebrity Special and Dave Gorman Modern Life is Goodish were UKTV’s highest rating programmes of 2015, helping to propel UKTV – an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive Inc. – to its fifth consecutive year of growth. Since 2010 the network has increased its viewing share by 30 per cent.

Christmas was cause for further celebration, with the network powering past Channel 5’s portfolio with a 6.63 per cent share versus 5.9 per cent, to celebrate its best festive period in the company’s history, up 11.4 per cent year on year. Sunday 27 December broke all records and propelled UKTV to its highest daily share ever, 7.62 per cent and the network enjoyed its most successful Boxing Day (6.69 per cent), New Year’s Eve (6.94 per cent) and New Year’s Day (6.91 per cent). UKTV Play also had a very successful Christmas period with a 66 per cent increase in app downloads in December versus November.

UKTV’s chief financial and operations officer Jan Gooze-Zijl, said that UKTV’s success wasa because it had taken risks and experimented with its content mix, ensuring viewers needs were at the heart of everything it did. “For the first time in our history we are on a par with both Sky and Channel 5’s full portfolios which is testament to the hard work of all 270 staff members based here in Hammersmith,” he added.

On December 8, 2015, Drama, Really and Yesterday joined Freesat, further increasing UKTV’s potential for growth in 2016. More channels from UKTV could potentially join go FTA during 2016, the most likely channel to join Freesat is Dave, this has not as yet gone FTA due to rights issues.

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By Expat