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UKTV boss steps down ahead of broadcaster split-up


UKTV CEO Darren Childs is stepping down from his role in charge of the BBC Studios/Discovery joint venture, ahead of the break-up of the broadcaster.

The BBC is poised to take control of most of UKTV in the coming months, with Discovery expected to take lifestyle channels Really, Good Food and Home and BBC Studios the remaining channels. There are understood to have been additional discussions about how UKTV's EPG slots will be reallocated between the two parties.

Under the leadership of Childs, the company has grown its commercial share of viewing by 42%, driven a 66% increase in revenues, and nearly tripled profits. Childs has strengthened UKTV's vibrant portfolio of brands including Dave, Drama and Really, three of the most popular non-PSB channels in Britain. During his tenure, the company also launched UKTV Play, its direct to consumer VOD service and fastest growing brand with two million registered users. The network reaches 40 million people every month. Childs will leave his post on 1st July.

In his time, the broadcaster has become a significant investor in British creativity, moving away from being mainly repeat channels, with a host of genre-defining and award-winning UKTV Originals, including Taskmaster, Dynamo: Magician Impossible and large scale live events including Monty Python Live: One Down Five To Go and David Haye Boxing, which drew some of the network's highest rating audiences.

The performance of UKTV is one of the main reasons why BBC Studios is keen to keep control over as much of the broadcaster as it can, rather than sell it on.

The split up of UKTV aims to simply broadcast rights for BBC shows which are currently split between various on-demand and linear outlets. The move is expected to pave the way for the launch of a joint video-on-demand service with ITV. ITV is due to give more information about its on-demand plans on the 27th February 2019.