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New ITV Streaming Service ITVX to Replace ITV Hub, Integrate Britbox

Lauren Forristal

Later this year, ITV will replace ITV Hub with a brand-new free streaming service — ITVX. It will be the first place for ITV content to stream, six to nine months before it airs on linear TV.

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said ITVX “builds on everything we have achieved in phase one” and, “ITVX will be a free service supported by adverts, with a compelling subscription proposition.”

ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo shared in a statement, “Viewing habits are changing rapidly and ITV has exciting plans which we are announcing today to really scale up our streaming ambitions, offering viewers a service with more fresh, free content dropping every week than anywhere else.”

He added, “Our broadcast channels are very important to what we do, and we are still focused on delivering what ITV does better than anyone in commercial TV - creating programs that bring audiences together - in the moment, in their millions, for that shared viewing, schedule TV experience. However, we know we have to deliver our programs to as many people as possible in all the ways they want to watch them, and going forward viewers will now see a wide array of shows premiering first on ITVX, which is the cornerstone of ITV’s digital acceleration.”

There will be two tiers available for ITVX viewers: the ad-supported tier and an ad-free option with content from other partners such as BritBox. And just like ITV Hub, ITVX will also stream the broadcaster’s many channels live.

Yes, that’s right. Ahead of the ITVX launch, ITV has bought out BBC’s share of BritBox U.K. The streaming service will be folded into the service, however, it will be a separate part of the app and require a paid subscription.

McCall said, “We initiated [the buy-out] because ITVX is very much an ITV strategic ambition. It’s a very important part of our overall strategy so we initiated that. In the original shareholder agreement, there was a way of dissolving that interest and the BBC have been extremely helpful and supportive. So that’s all that’s happened and we go on normal.”

Also, the network has struck a deal with WarnerMedia International Television Distribution for U.S. content including “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” “All American,” “The OC,” and “One Tree Hill.”

ITVX will also launch 15,000 hours of content, including multiple ITV hits such as “Broadchurch,” “Love Island,” “A Spy Among Friends,” “The Little Birds,” and a new series using deep fakes to create hilarious celebrity set-ups, a feature film for ITV2 hit “Plebs,” and a feature doc on the truth about Bill Cosby.

Total content costs next year for ITVX are expected to hit around £1.2BN in content plus an additional £25M for data and technology. The launch will cost another £20M.

Producer/distributor ITV Studios unveiled a five-year master plan not too long ago, to increase revenue by 5% per year, double its number of scripted hours, and double its proportion of total revenue from the streamers.

BritBox

BritBox is a hub for hundreds of TV shows and films produced in the UK. Enjoy your favorite classics like Doctor Who (1963) and Mr. Bean (1990), new original series like Sticks and Stones (2019) and There She Goes (2018), and watch special live events, tune into premieres, and keep up to date with current affairs and soap operas streaming direct from the UK. Oftentimes programming that premieres in the UK can be viewed internationally at the same time via the service.

BritBox only allows for one profile, but this “Standard” ($6.99) plan is 100% ad-free, supports offline downloads, features extensive parental controls (and some limited programming for children), and has a selection of over 150 films from a broad range of genres. Enjoy Britbox on devices up to 1080p on any of the devices listed below. Though niche, if you’re looking for excellent programming direct from the UK - both classic and current - BritBox is the service you want.