ITVX: What does it mean for advertisers?

Against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive video landscape and linear TV inflation, ITV proudly presented their new VOD proposition to the market – ITVX.

Pitched as representing the most significant milestone in ITV’s accelerated streaming strategy, ITVX is being touted as not just an update to the ITV Hub but a full-scale replacement. Launching in November ’22 (exact date TBC) to align with the Qatar FIFA World Cup, ITVX represents a step-change in their current VOD offering and will provide consumers with more choice in a highly competitive marketplace.

Cynics might suggest that this is a re-branding of ITV Hub but, scratching the surface, a much improved consumer offering and experience is clear to see. Clearly there has been substantial investment in the tech capabilities and from a visual perspective, the ITVX will feel familiar to subscribers of Netflix.

One of the big bonuses for viewers and advertisers alike is the massive growth in content, shifting from 4,000 hours on the current ITV Hub to huge 15,000 hours on the new platform. This mass expansion is being delivered through 6 key areas:

  1. Exclusive partnerships with US content providers, notably Warner Bros
  2. 500 hours of free films through partnerships with; Warner Bros, Disney, NBCU, Sony, Pathe and StudioCanal
  3. An expanded library of UK boxsets
  4. 20x dynamic FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) channels – think Spotify playlists but for TV programmes
  5. At least 20 drama and comedy series available on ITVX after the first episode has aired
  6. Exclusive weekly ITVX Premieres targeting those younger audiences that fall outside of the linear TV sphere

All of the targeting capabilities available through Planet V and ITV’s recently announced AdLab department will be integrated from day one. Additionally, we expect to see further sponsorship and partnership opportunities released closer to launch, with FAST channels being an obvious opportunity for advertisers.

While the market had a very negative reaction to the announcement on 3rd March – ITV’s share price dropped 14.2% - Kelly Williams, ITV Commercial Managing Director, was comfortable with the reaction as the ITV had recently posted record revenues of £3.4bn up 24% on 2020.

While the launch of AdLabs put ITV on a par with the targeting capabilities of their traditional BVOD competitors ALL 4 & SKY Go, the growth in content & tech puts ITVX firmly on the front foot as a future-facing proposition. This is a move that ITV had to make to remain competitive in the current climate with Disney + introducing an ad-supported tier and Netflix CFO not ruling out an ad-funded tier. Unlike Netflix though we are not expecting ITV to pass on the cost of this new platform through increasing their rates.

With the launch not expected until November this year, further news on ITVX capabilities will be released throughout the year. Until launch we would expect it to be business as usual in terms of all client campaigns, however, should you want to discuss further please do get in touch.