How UKTV increased market share by ditching ‘disposable’ marketing

By focusing on long-term brand building over short-term ‘Bat-Signal’ marketing, UKTV has been able to grow the share of some of its key channels by a “very significant” amount.


UKTV had become stuck in a rut of focusing on short-term, programme-led marketing on specific channels, which meant little attention was being given to the long-term growth of the brand.

The extent of the problem was laid bare at the beginning of the pandemic, when the normal stream of new shows all but dried up.

“TV’s obsession with short-term, appointment-to-view campaigns meant we had been anchoring ourselves in the less effective world of low brand and high activation plans, when for maximum effectiveness we really needed to strike a balance between the two,” said former chief marketing and innovation officer Simon Michaelides, talking at Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing in March.

By focusing its efforts entirely on individual shows there was “minimal consistency and little accumulative impact”, he added, meaning its campaigns were effectively “disposable”.

In a move that is “counter-intuitive for a TV broadcaster”, Michaelides said UKTV made the decision to prioritise brand building over campaigns for specific shows. He knew it would mean convincing some of the company’s “inherently sceptical” stakeholders that it was the right thing to do, and this led to a realisation that the marketing team didn’t necessarily have the skills needed internally to “put things right”.

View the video above for another chance to see the full presentation in which Michaelides, who is now chief customer officer at Riviera Travel, shares his three-point plan of action and how the implementation helped grow the share of some of UKTV’s key channels, including Dave, Drama and Alibi.

Marketing Week’s Festival of Marketing returns on 6 October in London, with an event dedicated to helping marketers grow their brands, businesses and careers. For more information and to buy tickets go the dedicated website.