Really Hits the Mark with "Life on TV"
By Sara Alessi
British commercial broadcaster UKTV’s Really channel has been around for eight years. The channel, which is available on Freeview, Sky and Virgin, presents an array of documentaries, true-crime titles, lifestyle programming and paranormal content. “Really launched as a slightly different channel from what it’s evolved into today,” Luke Hales, the general manager of UKTV’s Really, Good Food, Home and Eden, explains to TV Real Weekly. “But today we are the home of high-quality, real-life documentaries.”
“Where we set ourselves apart from the market is that we have access to the highest-quality content out there,” Hales continues. “We are making major inroads into commissioning our own content, moving into presales and trying to get ahold of all the new and exclusive U.K. content that we can.”
While the channel has historically been focused on acquisitions, Really is now concentrating on commissioning. Hales says: “We’re moving aggressively into commissioning now, focusing on blue light or emergency services content.” Two recent commissions in that space are Helicopter ER and Cops UK: Bodycam Squad. “Those shows produce huge numbers for us and our viewers love them.” Hales is particularly enthusiastic about Into the Fire, a documentary series that was commissioned earlier this year and is coming in the fall. “For the first time, we’re going to follow the fire service. The footage we’re seeing is mind-blowing.” He says commissioning content is beneficial because the channel has editorial control as well as rights for the titles on all platforms.
Hales says that in the last 18 months or so, much work has been done to establish a “real clarity of purpose” with regard to airing content that matches with the channel’s objective. “‘Life on TV’ is our tagline, so we’ve been clear about our brand guardrails and we try not to veer from that,” he explains. The main content pillars for the channel are lifestyle, real life, true crime, emergency services and paranormal. Really recently received a brand refresh, with new idents, bumpers, logos, the aforementioned tagline and more produced by the broadcaster’s in-house UKTV Creative team.
Really is scheduled around its viewers’ habits. “The only reason we exist is because we have viewers,” Hales notes. “We’re very respectful of the fact that they come to us and watch us. We want to keep them happy, so everything we do is focused on fitting in with their lifestyle and their habits.” The daytime slate is stocked with “gentle content.” He says: “Daytime tends to be stuff we know viewers love; content that is very watchable. We tend to strip that across the week, so we’re very reliable; people know when and where to find that content.”
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