ITV’s free-to-air linear children’s channel, CITV, will be shut down this year, and will no longer be available on Freeview and Freeast.
Instead, ITV’s children’s content will move over to ITVX Kids, a new streaming destination on ITV’s streaming service.
And while ITVX is a free (with adverts) streaming service, this does mean people who can’t get ITV’s streaming service, for whatever reason – will be unable to access most of the broadcaster’s kids’ content.
The change is set to take place in July 2023, when the new ITVX Kids homepage will launch, and will roll out across the school summer holiday period.
Following that, CITV will stop airing on Freeview, Freesat and the rest of the platforms, in early Autumn.
The new ITVX Kids homepage will bring together over 100 titles in a dedicated homepage, with over 1,000 hours of programming to choose from (see full details below).
Some content for children will also remain on the LittleBe pre-school segment on ITVBe, and, from September, ITV2 will reportedly air children’s content in the early mornings.
CITV, ITVX linear channel aimed at children aged 5-13, has been around in some form since 1983 (the standalone channel launched in 2006). It currently broadcasts daily, from 6am to 9pm.
According to ITV, children are moving towards streaming TV – therefore it makes sense to switch from a linear kids’ channel to a streaming service.
They cite BARB viewing data, that demonstrates that while the average amount of broadcast TV minutes of kids TV channels watched by 4-15 year-olds per week has declined by -62% since 2019, unmatched viewing (which is commonly attributed to streaming) has risen by +30% in the same period, demonstrating the streaming-first trend in kids viewing.
In light of that, ITV has decided to shut down its CITV channel – in favour of its new streaming service, ITVX.
What Is ITVX?
In addition to the on-demand content, you can also stream all of ITV’s live channels via the app, as well as several “themed” ad-supported live channels that are dedicated to a single series or theme (but not on Freeview Play devices and TVs).
While ITVX is a free streaming service first and foremost (with adverts), it also has an optional Premium tier that removes all the adverts – and also gives you access to most of the content from BritBox.
ITVX also announced recently that another standalone streaming service – Studio Canal Presents – would be added as a perk to ITVX Premium.
ITVX Premium costs £5.99/month or £59.99/year.
It’s worth noting that the content on ITVX Kids will not be ad-free (as it is on a few other kids’ streaming platforms). Instead, parents who prefer a totally ad-free experience for their children, will have to pay for ITVX Premium.
This means that people who don’t currently have access to ITVX, will need to purchase a compatible device, in order to access the new ITVX Kids platform – instead of CITV.
ITVX Kids – Coming This Summer
The Kids ITVX homepage, accessed within a child-safe ITVX Kids profile, will start its rollout in July 2023.
Its curated collections will feature a wide range of titles, including brand-new programmes dropping monthly on the service.
This new content will span a wide range of genres and subjects including comedy, gameshows, live action, animation and sport and will be sourced from a broad spectrum of distributors from small Independents as well as regional UK suppliers.
The range of new shows will complement existing favourites, including Lloyd of the Flies, Lily’s Driftwood Bay, Claude, Mumfie, Mystery Lane and The Rubbish World of Dave Spud.
ITVX Kids will also have some much-loved British brands, including the animated series of Mr Bean, and for younger pre-school children, TeleTubbies Let’s Go, Sooty and Bob The Builder amongst other titles.
Accessibility for all children who want to enjoy content will also be a big priority for ITVX.
The ambition is for 100% of content to be subtitled on ITVX Kids, with around 20% of the content audio described, and the offering will also include British Sign Language original programming such as Mission Employable and Daremaster, produced by Signpost productions.
Craig Morris, Managing Editor of ITVX said:
“We’re really excited to launch this dedicated destination for kids on ITVX, which will be home to a wealth of content including new series, recognisable brands and existing favourites for a range of ages, all in one child-safe area, with editorial curation to guide viewing.
“The wealth of content will be available to stream for free, with the option for parents to choose ad-free viewing, through a subscription to ITVX Premium.”