ITV scrubs Hub, preps X

ITV has announced plans to revamp its ITV Hub streaming platform later this year, replacing it with a new service called ITVX.

The company describes it as 'the UK’s first integrated advertising and subscription funded (AVOD/SVOD) platform'. This is because it will come in two tiers – one free (with adverts), and another premium option (price TBC) that removes advertising and adds access to content from the BBC/ITV/Channel 5 joint-venture Britbox.

Another key difference will be a greater emphasis on exclusive content, with the broadcaster opting to premiere 'much' of its new series on ITVX, before airing them across its linear TV channels 'six to nine months later'.

Spying an opportunity
This 'digital first windowing strategy' will include debuts for limited series A Spy Among Friends, starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce; Litvinenko, featuring David Tennant; Russell T. Davies' biopic series Nolly, starring Helena Bonham-Carter, and Lenny Henry's six-part drama The Little Birds.

Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment at ITV, says ITVX gives the company a chance to 'scale up' its streaming ambitions.

'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 programmes that bring audiences together, in-the-moment, in their millions, for that shared viewing, scheduled TV experience. However we know we have to deliver our programmes to as many people as possible in all the ways they want to watch them.'

ITVX will offer movies as well as TV series, with plans to have a 'constantly refreshed' selection of 150 titles available at any time. It will also stream ITV's linear channels, and introduce a rotating range of themed 'pop-up' channels. Described as offering 'the lean-back experience of watching a curated, scheduled channel', these will include 'True Crime' and '90s Favourites' at launch.

The arrival date for ITVX, which will feature around 15,000 hours of on-demand content, has not yet been confirmed. It should, however, arrive before the FIFA World Cup 2022, which begins in November, as ITV says the platform will offer simulcasts of tournament games airing on ITV channels.

While we wait, the broadcaster says it will grow the amount of content available on ITV Hub.