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On-demand first for ITV youth channels

by RXTV-newsdesk

ITV2, ITVBe and CITV are moving to an on-demand first approach, as ITV rethinks how to provide a service to younger audiences.

Speaking at the Creative Cities Convention, Paul Mortimer, Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions at ITV told delegates the linear channels were going nowhere. However, the majority of new shows will appear on the ITV Hub first, followed later by linear TV.

As part of the change in strategy, ITV will begin commissioning more factual shows for the ITV2 area of the ITV Hub. A new drama for teenagers for the channel is also in the pipeline. The as-yet unnamed drama is the first new drama for ITV2 in nearly a decade.

ITV2 launched in 1998 and has become the centrepiece of ITV’s service for teenagers and young adults. ITVBe arrived in 2014 as a female-skewing spin-off to ITV2, taking most of ITV2’s reality programmes.

Speech by ITV’s Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions, Paul Mortimer:

“The pandemic has fast tracked the behaviour of audiences, more people want content on their own terms and at their own convenience, and younger audiences always get there first with these behaviours. We need to adapt the way we commission for them. What we’re doing with CITV, ITVBe and ITV2 is focusing on their respective audiences’ preference for on-demand content so in terms of commissioning its commissioning really for ITV Hub, under those brands.”

“Much of the content we commission and acquire for those brands will land on ITV Hub first. It’s all about shifting the windowing pattern, making it more convenient for audiences. The channels aren’t going anywhere by the way, they will still be around, and there will be exceptions to on-demand first, for example with shows like Love Island which is a daily update show, and one that is strong on both linear TV and Hub, or other entertainment shows, which don’t lend themselves to boxsetting.”

“But more generally, once you are freed of the constraints of scheduling and programming a linear channel, it becomes really exciting in terms of the possibilities of the different genres we might venture into – such as factual programmes. On ITV2, we have been very successful in becoming the No 1 destination for young adults and we did that by really targeting them and focussing on funny, often irreverent, entertainment programming with a tone that ran through all the content. We prided ourselves that as a viewer you come in, lean back, have fun, and we programmed it so every programme led neatly into the next, it’s all about inheritance, it’s about 9pm junctions and watersheds. But guess what, on demand it’s not…and when you’re free of those linear channel constraints there’s other things you can do in programming terms…”

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