Announcing record revenues and profits for 2016, UKTV has launched a new multimillion-pound fund to invest in “high-growth-potential businesses.”
In partnership with Channel 4’s Commercial Growth Fund, the Innovation Fund will be used to invest in a variety of industries as UKTV looks to diversify its revenue sources. The company will obtain equity stakes in businesses in return for advertising airtime on UKTV. The first deals are expected to be announced later in 2017.
Revenues for last year were up 8 percent to reach £344.8 million, delivering EBITDA that was up 11.3 percent to £91.3 million. The company reported a 5.8 percent boost in its share of commercial impacts (SOCI), driven by its increased investment in content (a total of more than £150 million). It also hailed its new ad-sales deal with Channel 4.
Announcing the results, CEO Darren Childs noted, “UKTV is delivering well against its strategy, with record profit, revenue, and share of commercial linear and non-linear audiences. Over the last three years, we have increased UKTV’s profit by over a third, by investing smartly in UKTV originals and making sure our shows are accessible to viewers on all major digital platforms. Looking ahead, I believe there is great headroom to continue to grow share in our channels’ business, but we are also broadening our focus. We will capitalize on the growth of UKTV originals and build original entertainment with shows such as Porters, Into the Fire, Murder on the Blackpool Express and a new prime-time format for W hosted by Davina McCall. We will invest more in VOD because our new advertising deal makes investment in on-demand services attractive. UKTV Play remains our fastest-growing and youngest brand—across content, marketing and increasing our capability to use data to better serve advertisers.”
Childs continued, “Even during a turbulent year in the ad market, the business continues to deliver double-digit profit growth. This strong performance has allowed us to invest in creative commissions but we want to do more. That’s why in 2017 we are diversifying our business with the launch of The Innovation Fund. This is a significant move for UKTV, as we plan to make a multi-million-pound investment in high-growth potential businesses, to generate new revenue streams.”