Tantalising content is king... on TV. One thing major studies measuring the effectiveness of TV in the marketing mix all agree on is that TV remains the most effective advertising medium, consistently outperforming other media.
With commercial TV making up two-thirds of total TV viewing in the UK with the average person watching two hours, 22 minutes a day (BARB, Jan-Jun 2016), the message is clear: underestimate TV at your peril.
Proof of that was clearly demonstrated at the annual UKTV Live showcase at Claridge's, where the UK’s biggest multichannel broadcaster revealed its biggest commissioning slate in its 25-year history, including the largest ever slate of UKTV Originals.
Agency folk, producers, journalists and investors were given sneak previews of new shows and returning favourites, supported by a roster of well-known TV talent.
UKTV CEO Darren Childs hailed an incredibly busy and creative year and said the company had struggled to shoehorn as much as possible into the two-hour event. "In 2010, when we started this phase of growth, we showed our entire slate in the morning. This year, 50 original productions are being made as we speak," he said.
New shows include gameshow, The Wave, hosted by Rylan Clarke; dinnerladies diaries, a three-part series revealing the backstory of Victoria Wood’s much-loved sitcom, and The Customiser is always Right, (working title), featuring YouTube star and celebrity car customiser, Yanni Charalambous.
TV is a true heavyweight
With the broadcaster now reaching an audience of 40 million a month on average, it has a 10% share of commercial audiences and has seen a fivefold increase in original commissioning in five years. There has also been a broadening of content genres.
Sport is a key area of development. Former world heavyweight champion David Haye joined Childs to deliver a passionate rationale for the new five-fight per year deal his company Haymaker Ringstar has with UKTV entertainment channel, Dave.
Skipping morning training for his December comeback to attend UKTV Live, Haye said the deal with Dave meant that new, emerging boxing talent could be as familiar to young sports fans as he had been to the previous generation.
"People could follow my rise as a boxer and I want to bring that back providing access to the future British talent. Dave is giving me that platform," he said.
More heavy hitters were on show as the UKTV channels rolled out their big names. Dr Christian Jessen (Dr Christian Will See You Now), Alex Jones (The Secrets in my Family), and Christine Lampard (Celebrity Haunted Mansion), all spoke about their upcoming shows on W.
Make content people get excited about
The audience was also given a glimpse of UKTV research that is helping reshape its content. Don’t Call Us Millennials revealed the emergence of Generation Alpha, who are predicted to be "the most transformative generation yet".
This changing audience is reflected in upcoming programming and branding. Comedian Matt Forde (Unspun with Matt Forde) demonstrated how satire is entering a new golden age, as well as cracking up the packed audience with his uncanny Boris Johnson and Donald Trump impersonations.
Forde interviewed Dara O Briain (Go 8 Bit) and Jason Byrne (Don’t Say it, Bring it) on their latest shows before Katherine Ryan quizzed the team behind Dave’s new comedy Porters. The cast of Zapped was up next, explaining the second series of the immersive fantasy-inspired comedy, before one of the loudest cheers of the day came for the Red Dwarf team, shaping up for their 12th series.
Andrew Collins introduced "murder mystery royalty" in the shape of Una Stubbs, Sheila Reid and Kimberley Nixon, some of the stars of Gold’s Murder on the Blackpool Express. Such shows demonstrated a commitment to making programmes with a strong British flavour, said Childs.
"We don’t make content with a view to selling it in the international market. We make things that we know our audience will love, and if you get it right in one market, then it will travel," he said.
The event also featured a ‘Live’ element, engaging with various interactive technologies including Snapchat Spectacles, VR headsets, and a Tweet powered vending machine.