U.K. Broadcaster ITV Unveils New Online Player With Library Content for Rental Fee

itv logo - H 2012

The player continues to offer catch-up TV content for free, but adds older programs for $0.78-$2 and seasons of shows for $3.20-$8.

LONDON - British commercial broadcaster ITV on Monday unveiled details of its new online ITV Player, which will for the first time not only offer free catch-up TV programming, but also library content for a rental fee.

ITV management, led by CEO Adam Crozier, has in recent years looked to build new revenue streams beyond the company's traditional free-to-air TV business model that relies on advertising revenue. That is why it has been focusing on building out its TV production arm ITV Studios, among other things.

The new ITV Player will continue to provide users free access to shows from the past week to allow fans to catch up on missed episodes.

An online link to the new player on Monday also showed off TV content that is older than a month that can be accessed for fees of £0.49 ($0.78)-£1.29 ($2) for 30 days from the time of payment - without ads. Similarly, the new player will make available whole seasons of shows, which the company calls "box sets," for viewing within 90 days for a price range of £1.99 ($3.20)-£4.99 ($8).

For example, the online link on Monday showed season nine of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen USA available for £0.79 ($) per episode, or £4.99 ($) for the whole 14-episode season. The site highlighted that the rental of the whole season saves people £6.07 ($).
"Also coming soon, ITV will be trialing program premieres from its stellar line-up giving viewers the chance to watch the next episode of a series straight away without having to wait for the episode to be broadcast on linear channels," ITV said Monday.
"Our all new ITV Player is a huge step forward in offering our viewers not only an improved catch-up experience, but also the chance to access a wider range of ITV’s rich mix of programming, on demand, for a competitive price," said James Micklethwait, online product director, ITV. "We see this as offering our viewers a little bit extra for a little bit extra, and look forward to evolving and improving the new Player going forward."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai