UKTV, the broadcaster behind the Dave television channel, saw its profits slide seven per cent last year following the costs of launching its eleventh channel.
Drama, which launched in July 2013, showcases British drama with series including Sharpe and Sense and Sensibility.
Meanwhile, UKTV’s share of the TV advertising market hit a record 9.1 per cent during the first half of 2014.
“This is a really significant phase in UKTV’s story, when we move from challenger to contender and this is the first time in the history of British television that a non-public service broadcasting channels business has played so big a role in the ratings charts,” said chief executive Darren Childs.
Revenues for the group, which is jointly owned by BBC Worldwide and US broadcaster Scripps, rose to £278m, up from £262m in 2012, while profits fell to £66.2m. Excluding the costs associated with Drama’s launch profits would have risen seven per cent to £76.7m.
“It will be most interesting to see how UKTV’s eleventh channel evolves over the next few years with respect both to the breadth of the content offering and to the exploitation of its social communications potential,” said Enders Analysis media analyst Toby Syfret. “Ultimately, though, its success and that of the linear offerings comes down to the quality of the programming content.”