ITV, the leading commercial television broadcaster in the United Kingdom, is preparing to launch its long-awaited ITVX service. The ITVX app has been rolling out across devices and platforms in preparation. The online platform replaces the previous ITV Hub as the online home of ITV programming. Available as a free service, ITVX will also offer a subscription option which includes access to BritBox.
ITVX launches on 8 December and promises a new and improved product experience as well as more new and exclusive programmes to view online for free. These include drama series that will initially only be available online. The service will also have full series of some ITV shows available from their first day of broadcast.
The launch is being supported with an up-market six-part drama set in the Cold War, A Spy Among Friends, showing serious intent and intelligence.
A forthcoming drama, Nolly will present the story of Noele Gordon, who starred in the long-running ITV serial drama Crossroads for 18 years until she was unceremoniously axed.
ITV is also taking on familiar BBC territory with A Year on Planet Earth, narrated by Stephen Fry, which will premiere on ITVX, with all episodes available in time for Christmas.
At launch, viewers will have access to over 10,000 hours of content in high definition. ITVX will also add new and exclusive programmes every week of the year.
Viewers can expect the full range of ITV drama past and present to go on the service, as well as documentaries, cult classics and hundreds of movies, with a thousand films to be made available each year.
All ITV channels will be available through ITVX, as well as additional themed channels, and a dedicated news section that will be updated through the day.
ITVX will offer viewers programming for free with adverts and the option of a paid subscription without advertising for £5.99 a month. Paying subscribers will also have access to BritBox UK.
ITVX represents a major investment by ITV to reimagine itself as an online company, competing not only with the BBC iPlayer but also with dedicated online services like Netflix.
ITV may not be able to match the investment of Netflix or Disney, which are introducing advertising supported subscription tiers that will compete for viewers and advertisers. However, it still has a significant share of national viewing on its traditional channels through which it can promote its online service.
The recent final of I’m a Celebrity attracted a peak audience of 11.5 million viewers, with a 59% share of those viewing.
The launch comes in time for the remaining knock-out football matches in the World Cup, for which ITV shares the rights in the United Kingdom with the BBC. So far, this has produced a peak audience of 18 million, for the draw between England and the USA.