UKTV to rebrand as "U" and unite all of its services under one banner

Mike Wheatley

UKTV is intending to unite its free video streaming service and free-to-air TV channels under the new masterbrand that will be called “U”.


The streamlined branding will launch in Summer 2024 and see the UKTV Play streaming service renamed as U, while its family to free-to-air channels will then be known as U&Dave, U&DRAMA, U&YESTERDAY and U&W, the company said.

UKTV Media is a multichannel broadcaster that claims to be one of the U.K.’s largest television companies, formed in 1992 as a joint venture between the BBC and Thames Television. Its TV channels are available through digital satellite and cable subscrbtins in the U.K. and Ireland, and can also be accessed via the free streaming platforms Freeview and Freesat, plus the catchup service within the existing UKTV Play application.

The revamped U streaming service is being created in partnership with the global brand consultancy Wolff Olins and is set to become home to thousands of hours of free content, covering genres such as drama, comedy, entertainment and factual entertainment. Besides showing reruns of classic TV shows such as Holby City, Sister Boniface Mysteries, Red Dwarf, Meet the Richardsons, World’s Most Dangerous Roads, Masterchef Australia and Secrets of London Underground, it will also stream a number of exclusive shows, award-winning originals, premiere acquisitions and iconic BBC programmes.

UKTV’s chief marketing officer Penny Brough explained that the thinking behind the rebrand is that UKTV’s experience has always been somewhat disconnected, and that it wants users to be able to better navigate its diverse offerings.

“U is the glue that enables us to do this: it means we go to market with a bold, simple and distinctive identity for our streaming service,” Brough said. “U makes it easy for people to connect the dots between the streaming service and our family of TV channels - all while keeping hold of each channel’s unique personality and fame. This is now a family that’s fit for a digital future. It’s simple, but still full of personality because it’s all about U.”

The rebrand will enable U to focus on its ambitious growth strategy. The company plans to supercharge its streaming service while simultaneously growing its linear channels. The rebrand will make it easier for fans of its programming to navigate its portfolio both online and on-air, it said.

UKTV said its streaming app has already enjoyed solid growth, with viewing figures increasing by 69% since the start of the year. With its FAST channels set to debut on the service next year, it will have even more to offer consumers, the company said.

The new U brand will be fully unveiled next year, launching simultaneously on both the streaming platform and the free-to-air channels. The rebranding will also see UKTV’s paid channels Alibi, Gold and Eden renamed as U&Alibi, U&GOLD and U&Eden at a later date.

“The entertainment market is so awash with confusing and bizarrely named offers, so we wanted to strip back, reduce the noise and present this family of brands in a clear, crisp, singular way,” said David Stevens, executive strategy director at Wolff Olins. “The new ‘U’ name is a nod to UKTV’s heritage, while emphasising that this new viewing experience is all about you. We’re excited about creating a bold brand that will stand out but won’t get in the way.”