LONDON — UKTV, the British pay TV channel provider owned jointly by the BBC and Virgin Media, has announced that its next two rebranded channels will be called Eden and Blighty.
The new-look services, previously known as UKTV Documentary and UKTV People, will bow early next year.
Documentary web Eden is to feature such fare as natural history skeins “Planet Earth” and “Big Cat Diary.”
Blighty’s brief encompasses factual entertainment shows like “Who Do You Think You Are” and British-based docus including “Coast” and “Trawlerman.”
Matthew Littleford, UKTV controller, said: “Eden and Blighty will shake up and re-invigorate the factual section of the EPG with clearly defined channel brands that deliver very compelling promises to viewers.”
UKTV hopes to repeat the success of Dave, the male-skewed channel previously known as UKTV G2, which saw ratings rise by almost 40% following last year’s rebranding.
This month, another three UKTV channels were given a makeover. UKTV Gold become Gold, while UKTV Drama was relaunched as Alibi, specializing in crime fare, and UKTV Gold+1 became Watch.
With competition for auds becoming increasingly fierce as more VOD services have emerged in the U.K., led by the BBC’s iPlayer, UKTV is banking on the power of the brand to protect its business model, which relies on secondary rights to BBC shows.
Tom Lucas, UKTV’s director of marketing and communications said: “Eden and Blighty will demonstrate that factual channel brands can brim with personality and still be authoritative and credible.
“Each channel is a reason to be cheerful in an increasingly bleak world, and will studiously avoid the worthiness endemic to some of our competitors.”