ITV is launching a new streaming service which will “thousands of hours” of shows which can be watched for free with adverts or, in return for a monthly subscription, ad-free.
As well as its own content, ITVX will include BritBox – which will be included in the subscription tier – and other content from third parties, plus a range of advert supported streamed channels available directly through the app.
There’ll also be up to 150 films available on the service at any one time, with 500 titles across the first year, as well as major sporting events and the finales of reality TV shows which will stream live at the same time as they’re broadcast on ITV’s channels.
The broadcaster will shift to a digital first windowing strategy where “much” of its new content will debut on ITVX before being broadcast on its linear channels months later.
ITV Hub, the broadcaster’s existing catch-up service, and BritBox UK – which ITV now owns entirely following a decision by the BBC to give up its 10% shareholding in the venture– will remain standalone services until later this year when both will be folded into ITVX.
Although it’s given up its stake in the UK version of BritBox, the BBC has signed a long-term deal to continue supplying it with content and ITV says all of the UK’s Public Service Broadcasters remain committed to the service.
In a statement McCall said: “The digital acceleration we are announcing today builds on everything we have achieved in phase one of our More Than TV strategy. ITVX will be a free service supported by adverts, with a compelling subscription proposition.
“This is fantastic for viewers – it will provide a simplified and seamless experience with thousands of hours of free content made up of both library and original exclusive content. The subscription tier will provide a premium offering and includes all of the content ad-free as well as BritBox and future SVOD content partners.
“We are supercharging our streaming business, fundamentally shifting our focus to think digital first, as well as optimising our broadcast channels, by continuing to attract unrivalled mass audiences.
“In doing so we are responding to changing viewing habits, but also the evolving needs from our advertisers. This will enable ITV to continue to be both commercial viewers and advertisers’ first choice.”