UKTV has announced a new digital service that will be delivered online direct to viewers. UKTV Play will feature advance previews of original commissions and acquisitions as well as popular programmes from the UKTV lineup, available on demand.

Programming will be compiled in collections, such as by topic and events, as well as editorial selections, box sets and advance previews of new programmes. The network’s channel brands — such as Dave and Really — will also feature on UKTV Play.

“UKTV Play will be as easy as switching on your TV,” said chief executive, Darren Childs. “We will curate content by topics and events, so UKTV Play will take away the difficulty that some viewers find with video on demand: choosing what it is they want to watch.”

UKTV Play will soft launch on Apple iOS devices over the summer and on personal computers and YouView by the end of the year.

Dan Fahy, the director of commercial and business development at UKTV, said: “We’ve launched UKTV Play because data shows our viewers will find more programming and engage with our channels more regularly if they have a single destination for on-demand viewing.”

This latest venture marks a return to the UKTV brand umbrella, which currently features ten separate thematic channel brands.

Available on cable, satellite, terrestrial and telco television platforms, UKTV output combines original commissions, acquisitions and re-run programmes from the BBC and Channel 4.

Celebrating its 21st year of operation, UKTV is now an independent commercial joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks Interactive.