ITV launches new pay-TV channel

January 29, 2014 09.41 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Broadchurch is one of ITV’s most popular dramas

ITV is to launch its first new channel in eight years. ITV Encore will debut later this year on Sky and will be dedicated to the best of the broadcaster’s British drama.

The exclusive with Sky is part of a new four-year deal that encompasses Sky+HD, Sky Go, NOW TV and Sky Store.

ITV Encore will carry some of ITV’s most successful drama series of recent years, making it distinctive from library channel ITV3, which also shows drama from the broadcaster. Significantly, ITV is also promising original commissions with ”the ITV hallmark of high quality production values, big name lead actors and compelling narratives penned by some of the UK’s best writers”.

Adam Crozier, ITV Chief Executive, said: “A key part of our strategy is to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK.

“ITV’s brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year – we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky Chief Executive, said: “Our customers love great drama and so we are delighted to bring them exclusive access to a new channel from one of the best loved brands in TV. The wider availability of ITV programmes on our fast-growing connected TV services will make Sky stand out as a great place to enjoy ITV, on multiple devices, both at home and on the go. This is good news for Sky customers and a positive way for us to work with ITV in a broad, mutually beneficial partnership.”

As part of the wider deal Sky will launch of ITV catch up and archive VOD and simulcast of ITV channels on Sky Go, together with launch of ITV Player on the NOW TV box.

There is also the renewal of the carriage deal for ITV 2, 3 and 4 HD and ITV catch up and archive VOD on the Sky+ HD platform, including an extended range of high quality TV box sets

ITV content on a rental basis will be added to the Sky Store.