ITV, one of the UK’s most prominent terrestrial television channels, is looking to translate its expertise in making programmes for the box in the corner to more modern screens. Following its hiring of Huffington Post UK’s editor-in-chief Stephen Hull as the new digital chief in March, ITV has announced the launch of three new digital-only news shows, presumably with the intention of broadening the reach of its international news brand as its non-National Advertising Revenue (NAR) shows healthy growth.
The three shows – ‘Now What?’, ‘Ask A Woman’, and ‘Young, British and Muslim’ – use existing talent from ITV’s news section, which, combined with Hull’s track record at Huffington Post UK and metro.co.uk, and ITV’s traditionally high production values, should serve to allay fears that this is ITV doing digital video for the sake of it. Instead, in an interview with The Drum, Hull noted that the shows have the mandate to “show that digital media and publishing can be grown-up, articulate and thoughtful”.
The quality of the programming is all but guaranteed to be extremely high, then – though ITV’s decision to focus on building a product before it sells sponsorship might raise some eyebrows, even if, as Hull notes: “There are loads of carcasses on the digital publishing motorway of businesses who tried to sell something before they built it.”
Presumably ITV believes the shows will add to its digital proposition, which currently includes the ITV Hub and its premium subscription option, which removes the ads for those who choose to pay it. But the digital video space is ever more crowded, and 2018 will undoubtedly see more networks, brands and studios launch their own standalone subscription services, ramping up the competition for existing video-on-demand (VOD) services.
That explosion is expertly explained by Gady Epstein:
“Mr Landgraf, who coined the term “peak TV”, worries that at some point there will be too many streaming services, much as there are too many cable channels now. A great shakeout will follow and the tech giants will have the advantage. Netflix and Amazon have both deep pockets and a head start in streaming customers; the studios will struggle to play catch-up.”
For instance, while the younger age groups ITV is targeting with these news shows are more likely to pay for digital video… (more…)