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UKTV viewing surges; benefits from Home launching on Freeview

The number of viewers watching lifestyle channel Home has gone up 167% year-on-year following the decision to make the channel available on Freeview.

The boost was announced by channel owner UKTV in its half year results. Sister channel Really saw its share of the audience peak at a new record of 0.94% in June as part of its Serial Killer season.

UKTV flagship channel Dave benefited from its move into screening live sports with exclusive live coverage of the David Haye comeback fight at the O2 arena resulting in a record-high audience of 3.2 million viewers. Taskmaster was up 45% series-on-series in July, with the second episode delivering the highest performance of the run with 768,000 viewers, consolidated. The new series, Alan Davies As Yet Untitled was also up 19% on slot. As a whole, Dave increased viewership by 2% in peak across the year, whilst also winning Entertainment Channel of the Year at the coveted Broadcast Digital Awards.

Drama, now the number two non-PSB channel (behind Dave) has seen audience share increase by 32% year-on-year. The impact of adding the channel, alongside Really and Yesterday to Freesat at the end of 2015 is now also fully reflected in viewing figures.

Among UKTV's pay TV channels, W - the rebranded Watch - has seen its audiences grow by 4% year-on-year, while average monthly reach increased by 8% , and viewership amongst the channel's target young, female audience is up by 15%. The channel took over showing same -day repeats of EastEnders after the closure of BBC Three's TV service.

The channel has a range of new, exclusive programming for the second half of 2016, including UKTV Originals John Bishop in Conversation with... and Amanda Holden's I've Got Something to Tell You.

Gold's viewing share was up 8.2% year-on-year, but UKTV has remained silent about the performances of its remaining pay channels Alibi and Eden and Freeview channel Yesterday. Video-on-demand service UKTV Play has also enjoyed an increase in usage, following a major promotional campaign in June.

Trumpeting the positive results, Darren Childs, Chief Executive of UKTV said,
"Our investment in bold, original programmes for our vibrant channel brands continues to chime with audiences - from Dynamo: Live at the 02 to The Comic Strip Presents... to the David Haye fights and Taskmaster - the year so far has been outstanding, and the best is yet to come. Our share of commercial impacts continues to grow so we can better serve British viewers and advertisers in this competitive market."