UK broadcaster ITV has reported a 55% increase in streaming hours in the first month since the launch of its new integrated AVOD and SVOD service ITVX, led in large part by sports coverage.
The streamer, which went live on 8 December, has also helped to boost ITV’s overall online users by 65% from launch to 7 January, compared to the same time period last year.
According to ITV, the biggest draws included the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup and some of its new exclusive content, which “performed strongly, attracting new and light viewers to ITV.”
“It is great to see so many new viewers coming into ITVX. The football World Cup has been an important part of that. Excluding the football, our underlying streaming viewing during the month was up 29% year on year and we continue to see strong year on year growth in January,” revealed ITV CEO Carolyn McCall.
These figures will no doubt be reassuring to ITV investors, who reacted with uncertainty to the commercial broadcaster’s new ‘digital first’ strategy when it was unveiled in March 2022, prompting a near-20% drop in its share price.
In the months between announcement and launch, ITV stocked up on content for the streamer, striking deals – including with CBS Reality and Glaswegian anime licensor Anime Ltd – to provide more than 15,000 hours of programming and films.
Among its recently launched exclusive titles are true crime drama Litvinenko and miniseries The Reunion, while the ‘digital first’ windowing strategy will give ITVX preference on other upcoming originals, which will arrive on broadcast channels six to nine months later.
ITV also expanded its drama team late last year, ahead of the ITVX launch, including hiring former director of TV at Mammoth Screen, Helen Ziegler, as senior commissioning editor to lead on ITVX’s drama slate.