ITV is ramping up its aims in the already crowded pay-TV business by launching a new Spotify-style streaming network.
Users will be able to watch programmes for free with commercials or subscribe to an ad-free subscription on ITVX, which is set to launch later this year. The new platform will contain ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s current streaming platform, and subscribers will have access to BritBox, the broadcaster’s connection with the BBC. ITVX will “supercharge” ITV’s streaming ambitions, according to CEO Carolyn McCall.
The broadcaster plans to invest £180 million in new programmes just for the new service over the next two years as it transitions from TV catch-up to appointment viewing.
“We’re competing for eyeballs with everyone, including games,” McCall said. “We need to attract viewers and keep them coming back,” says the producer.
The new platform will be unveiled once a week. Two new films are A Spy Among Friends, starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce, and Nolly, featuring Helena Bonham Carter. They’ll air on mainstream television six to nine months later. The new platform will be unveiled once a week. Two new films are A Spy Among Friends, starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce, and Nolly, featuring Helena Bonham Carter. They’ll air on mainstream television six to nine months later.
ITVX will launch with 15,000 hours of content, compared to 4,000 on Hub, and TV controller Kevin Lygo believes the platform will become a “destination,” comparable to Netflix and iPlayer.
McCall also praised ITVX’s “quick channel,” which are quasi-playlists of TV programmes that customise episodes to users’ preferences. Just a few examples include ‘Hell’s Kitchen US,’ ‘True Crime,’ ‘The Oxford Detectives,’ ’90s Favourites,’ and ‘The Chase.’
Set-up costs will total £25 million in addition to the programme funding. ITV anticipates that revenue from the new service will cover expenses and investment by 2026.
According to McCall, the announcement came as ITV reported “excellent financial results.” Revenue grew by 24% to £3.4 billion last year, while pre-tax earnings nearly doubled to £480 million. ITV declared a final dividend of 3.3p per share after reducing net debt by 24%.
The results exceeded expectations, and management expressed confidence in the advertising sector. The stock, however, fell 15.6p to 95p, a 14 percent decline.