Just as the BBC has shaped iPlayer into a must-watch streaming service and often the first place that people now go to watch its content, ITV is to reshape its digital services in a bid to capture a greater share of the highly competitive streaming world.
ITVX is not as revolutionary as the company might like you to believe. It is effectively offering viewers a chance to see some of its programmes before they are broadcast on linear TV as well as its back catalogue of shows.
“The first-watch opportunity and the option to pay for a premium service without adverts are the key differentiators, otherwise it is just a rebooted version of the existing ITV Hub,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“Traditional broadcasters are embracing the digital-first strategy as fewer people are sitting down to watch live TV. Viewers are increasingly switching on Netflix or Disney+ first and media groups like ITV need to find a way to make sure their brand also stays front of mind when someone is looking to put their feet up and choose something to watch.
“ITV is hedging its bets when it comes to revenue. YouTube and Spotify have both shown that consumers are happy to pay a subscription to avoid advertising so ITV appears confident that it will enjoy a decent amount of recurring revenue from monthly fees for those who take the premium version of ITVX.
“Equally it might be happy with people watching the free version if there are enough eyeballs to generate a decent advertising income.
“Ultimately the proposition will only be as successful as its content, and here’s where ITV might have to dig deep to compete against the ever-growing number of rival streaming platforms. Yes, it has some classics, but will the lure of endless Carry On films be enough to get people to keep watching ITVX?”