With its first new channel for eight years, simultaneously indicating the strength of UK pay-TV and invoking memories of its failed Digital venture, ITV is to launch a pay service on Sky.

ITV Encore is designed to offer a selection of drama from the canon UK’s leading independent channel on the satellite platform as part of a four-year partnership, ITV’s biggest ever with an operator, that will see content made available through Sky’s range of connected platforms including Sky+HD, Sky Go, NOW TV and Sky Store. From 2015 Encore will also screen original commissions with what ITV describes as its “hallmark of high quality production values, big name lead actors and compelling narratives.”

The deal will also see the 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. It will also herald 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, plus· availability of ITV content on a rental basis in Sky Store.

Commenting on the partnership, 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…“The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels…[It] is right in line with our strategy of growing non advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.”

Added Sky Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch: “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, including Sky Go, Sky Store and NOW TV, 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.”