UKTV History relaunches as Yesterday on March 2

In just less than 1 week, the “past becomes present” when UKTV History channel rebrands as Yesterday, culminating in the last of UKTV’s factual channels to be renamed and rebranded. Yesterday targets upmarket 30 plus couples, placing serious history in the form of Andrew Marr’s History of Modern Britain and Auschwitz in the same schedule as The Alan Clark Diaries, House of Cards and Antiques Roadshow.

The complimentary website http// launches on March 2nd as well. UKTV’s Director of Factual, Lifestyle and New Media, Jane Mote, says, “Yesterday will challenge traditional beliefs of what a history channel should be by taking a more inclusive, accessible and entertaining approach to the past and making it more immediate and relevant to viewers.”

It is a process that began with UKTV G2 being successfully rebranded by Red Bee as Dave 18 months ago, UKTV has spent a great deal of time and care on the multiplatform brand portfolio, which just saw the launch of Blighty (from UKTV People) one week ago:

Comfort brands are reportedly faring well in these uncertain times. The decidedly “feel-good” relaunches should be a welcome sight to viewers. I mean comon, who didn’t smile at that Eden launch spot? And if you didn’t, the iceberg sculpture with a polar bear and cub floating down the River Thames should have at least been smirk inducing.

Matthew Littleford, UKTV’s controller, explains: “We realized that because we had strong content we needed to have kick-ass brands that would stand out,” he says, stressing the importance of UKTV’s access to BBC programming.” The figures are impressive: six months of research, 32 focus groups, consultation with 120 staff members and 3,500 online respondents, £250,000 spent. Littleford adds, “All of the research about History was that people who came to watch it would be interested in 20th-century history and war. The history channel isn’t just about that,” he says. “We wanted a brand that stretched wider.”

“The whole point of Yesterday is to make history feel more immediate and more personal,” explained Yesterday channel head Richard Kingsbury.

The process has already begun for the UKTV Gardens, UKTV Food and UKTV Style rebrands in the spring. Following their recent launch, both factual channels Eden and Blighty saw their audiences and share more than double as a result of their rebrands, increasing share by 99% and 64% respectively versus 2008 average.

Yesterday’s tagline is “Where the Past is Always Present”.

The holding page and :10 Yesterday Spot can be seen at

I’ll have a lot more to share about Yesterday come launch next Monday (I love these Yesterday word pretzels!)

Maybe UKTV Marketing topper Mr. Lucas will make another surprise blog appearance here. You’ll just have to hope. Stay tuned!

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