In the years since UKTV was created in 1992, in part by BBC Enterprises, the multi-channel broadcaster has successfully proven itself to be a brand that consistently thinks outside the box – often leading where other networks follow.
Its unique approach to the TV market involves the delivery of ten channels, half of which are free-to-air and half that require a pay-TV subscription. It’s this mix of income from advertising and subscriptions that has proven such a success, fuelling both growth in viewership and a 20% increase in profit over the last two years.
Most recently, in a clear evolution from its position as a traditional broadcaster, UKTV has also taken on the Internet TV space by developing its suite of video on demand (VOD) products – in part powered by Brightcove – under the UKTV Play brand. Two years after its launch, the product range includes web, iOS, Android, YouView, Freeview Play and Fire TV, with other platforms following over the summer. Usage, engagement rates, and app installs are all rising at impressive rates: they recently achieved the impressive milestone of 1m app installs across all platforms.
UKTV Play: Success in three stages
ONE: Great programming and a quality user experience
First and foremost, content offering must be compelling and timely. As an example, right now UKTV has exclusive previews of brand new Taskmaster and Storage Hunters UK on UKTV Play, available to watch a week before they’re shown on TV. These are both examples of original programmes that UKTV have made, and are really strong drivers for Dave viewers. This, coupled with the quality of design and user experience of UKTV’s apps and website is an effective combination to encourage higher engagement and repeat usage.
TWO: Great marketing and strong brand presence
Developing a strong and consistent marketing tone of voice is important to build familiarity and interest in UKTV Play. The service is often only discoverable or accessible from a single icon or button, so this initial, unprompted awareness of UKTV Play is critical to attracting new users. Personalisation, segmentation and targeted social campaigns form a large part of this and need to support and reinforce the promotional activity that happens on TV.
THREE: Extending reach with new platforms
Although retention may vary by device type, and usage patterns differ, the addition of new platforms are a great way for broadcasters like UKTV to expand their network reach. However, faced with a lack of standardisation for viewing on different devices UKTV takes a very structured approach to its additions – focusing only on those platforms it deems to have the most future potential, and only for a specific list of devices. Future platform development will be dictated by careful monitoring of consumer and industry trends to see which will grow in dominance before any commitment is made.
Strategic partnership, strategic VOD
UKTV has been a Brightcove customer for over 10 years now. What started with short-form videos on UKTV’s channel websites has grown into a key strategic partnership enabling it to develop on-demand products and services across many platforms.
Tasked with handling all the technical mechanics of UKTV’s VOD delivery, Brightcove’s work has been instrumental in giving the small in-house team the time and space to focus on the ongoing evolution of its apps and services, and ensure the best possible user experience. As our services have grown – bringing in new functionality such as Brightcove Once for server-side ad insertion, new DRM, stronger encryption and much more - so too has UKTV’s VOD offering, maintaining its position well ahead of the curve.
We’re proud of the work we do on UKTV Play and look forward to continuing to support the company on its ongoing content journey by making VOD as easy and convenient as possible for UKTV and viewers alike.
You can read the full UKTV Play case study here
Read the full UKTV Play case study