Future of TV Brand Strategy UKTV

UKTV Play recasts its brand as ‘warm, cozy and inviting’


By Hannah Bowler | Senior Reporter

September 28, 2022 | 5 min read

UK commercial broadcaster UKTV has rebranded its streaming platform, UKTV Play, putting talent and brand at the forefront.

UKTV Play gets an overhaul

UKTV has had a major overhaul

To set it apart from its video-on-demand (VOD) competitors, which typically market themselves based upon popular shows, UKTV is now promoting the Play brand as “warm, inviting and friendly.“

Going live across all platforms on Wednesday (September 28) the 12 month-long project ushers in a new brand positioning and logo with a fresh suite of assets.

UKTV is home to free-to-air channels Dave, W, Drama and Yesterday which air shows including Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over, Emma Willis Delivering Babies, Meet the Richardsons and Big Zuu’s Big Eats.

The free VOD player has over six million users and currently acts as a catch-up service for its linear schedule. The revamped service will now host exclusive content and start phasing in acquired shows. Further down the line, there are plans to commission original shows.

General manager for digital at UKTV, Andrea Amey, says transforming its VOD service meant overhauling all aspects of Play and forging a new brand positioning.

“It’s not just logo and colors it's the heart of what we do. So it influences how we talk about ourselves in marketing and on social media. It’s also central to the content choices that we’re making, and how we present that content to our user base,“ Amey says.

Ultimately, she says, ”it filters down to the product and how we prioritize what features and functionality comes first and how we also improve our user experience.”

UKTV Play launched in 2014, and its head of design Peter Allinson said he has dreamed about a rebrand since 2015. Taking six months to execute UKTV’s in-house creative developed over 200 assets including a new logo, typeface, color palettes and a suite of iconography, animations and sounds.

UKTV Play logo

The original Play logo wasn’t designed to be a digital product so there were “difficulties scaling the logo” on the app or a mobile device, Allinson admitted. “It wasn’t sufficient enough and we didn’t have enough brand assets,” he says. “We needed to future-proof the brand with a logo and design that was digital first.”

The new logo needed to be “functional and flexible” so it can be modified as the Play product develops but also be linked to new shows and talent. UKTV talent like Big Zuu and Stacey Dooley can now be squeezed into the UKTV Play circle.

Historically Allinson admitted that the channels always came first and UKTV “struggled to own its talent.” Now the broadcaster wants to put talent and its UKTV branding first. “That is a bit of a behavioral shift. Being able to do that with imagery and talent almost allows us to own it and we’ve never been able to do that before,” Allinson says.

In 2023 UKTV will then overhaul its Play product. The rebrand came first to ensure “UKTV had the best possible brand out there with that switchover,” Allinson says.

“We can start to feed in that branding and test and learn over the next few months to then when we've got that fully optimized update.”

The overall ambition for updating Play, says Amey, is to migrate UKTV’s linear audiences but also to target new audiences and growing monthly active users.

To support the rebrand campaign UKTV will release a TV spot running on its own channels as well as other British VOD services. The ad will run until March with an optimized version planned for mid-way through the campaign. Radio is pivotal to the campaign, as Amey explains its audience are big radio listeners.

The broadcaster has also opened the UKTV Play Photography Exhibition in London’s Seven Dials from 7 to 9 October. The free exhibition will host photography and props from shows across UKTV’s channel portfolio.

It’s the latest rebrand to come out of the BBC Studios-owned broadcaster after its female-skewing channel W refreshed its brand positioning in March.

Future of TV Brand Strategy UKTV

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