UK’s ITV announces a new free + subscription hybrid streaming service

By | March 4, 2022

UK broadcaster ITV has announced a new streaming service that will offer both free ad-based content as well as a second paid-for tier. ITVX will launch “later this year” although no hard release window has been given.

The broadcaster says that while ITVX will have a free tier that will give people access to a range of content for free, those who want to get everything will need to pay — the paid tier will ditch the ads for all content as well as layering additional shows and movies on top.

ITVX will be viewer led – viewers can choose to watch thousands of hours of content for free in an advertising funded tier or trade up to a subscription service which provides all that content ad-free and in addition provides thousands more hours of British boxsets from BritBox and other partners’ content.

ITV’s press release goes on to say that the service will also offer content before it is made available via its traditional broadcast channels.

In a step change to its traditional approach ITV will now adopt a digital first windowing strategy – premiering much of its new content first on ITVX and subsequently months later on ITV linear channels.

Free content will be delivered via Free Ad-supported TV Channels, or FAST Channels, ITV says. 20 will be available at launch including “Hell’s Kitchen US, True Crime, The Oxford Detectives, 90s Favourites(. and *The Chase.” ITV says that a new themed channel will launch every week.

ITV isn’t yet saying how much any of this will cost or indeed how people will be able to watch all of this content, although expect it to be somewhere between the £4.99 of Apple TV+ and whatever price Netflix is charging by the time ITVX launches. It seems likely that apps will be made available on the usual array of devices including the Apple TV hardware.

As part of the announcement the company share details of some of the new content that will be available on ITVX. Top of the list is a new series starring Guy Pearce and Damian Lewis. A Spy Among Friends is “based on the New York Times best-selling book written by Ben Macintyre, which dramatises the true story of Nicholas Elliott (Damian Lewis) and Kim Philby (Guy Pearce).

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