Free to air, flagship television channel ITV have announced the launch of their newest channel, ITV Encore, on a digital medium – through Sky television.
Despite it being more than a decade since the world bid farewell to ITV Digital, the company have come back with a vengeance in order to stream some of their shows on Sky. The channel is set to feature as a pay-TV channel, i.e. only available for Sky television subscribers, and it will feature what they are describing as the ‘best of British drama’.
“The channel, ITV Encore, will be a home to some of the broadcaster's recent successful dramas, such as Vera and Lucan. From next year ITV will also populate the channel with original commissions.
The move is chief executive Adam Crozier's biggest to date in a strategy to diversify the broadcaster's revenues away from an overwhelming dependence on free-to-air advertising.
"A key part of our strategy is to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK," said Crozier. "ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non-advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama."
Crozier said that ITV Encore, which is the broadcaster's first brand new channel launch in eight years, will complement ITV3, which airs long-running classic drama series.
The launch builds on a pay-TV relationship with BSkyB that Crozier started in 2010 which saw ITV dip a toe in the water by putting HD versions of ITV2, 3 and 4 behind the satellite broadcaster's subscription wall.
"The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV's family of channels, and will complement ITV3," said Crozier.
The move to launch ITV Encore is a major step forward, ITV's first major move in pay-TV since the collapse in May 2002 of ITV Digital, the digital terrestrial subscription business backed by ITV companies Carlton and Granada.
As part of a wider deal ITV content will be made available through Sky's range of platforms including Sky Go, Sky Store and Now TV.
"Our customers love great drama and so we are delighted to bring them exclusive access to a new channel from one of the best loved brands in TV," said the BSkyB chief executive, Jeremy Darroch. "The wider availability of ITV programmes on our fast-growing connected TV services will make Sky stand out as a great place to enjoy ITV, on multiple devices, both at home and on the go."
The deal includes the launch of ITV's catchup, archive video-on-demand service and simulcast of ITV channels on mobile service Sky Go.
ITV Player will also be made available on Sky's £9.99 budget set-top box, Now TV.
The broadcaster has also renewed its carriage deal for ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 HD.”
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This article was originally published at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jan/29/itv-pay-tv-channel-sky-itv-encore
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