“Everyone else is PLUSING – we’re MULTIPLYING” – That’s one of the current selling points for ITV’s upcoming new streaming service, ITVX, which was announced earlier this month.
ITVX, which is set to replace ITV’s existing streaming app – ITV Hub – is set to launch “just in time for FIFA World Cup” in November 2022 – and while an exact date hasn’t been given yet, ITV is pretty sure about making it in time for November.
Many details about ITV’s ambitious new streaming service are still unknown. But recently, ITV held a video webinar for advertisers, where many new details about ITVX were revealed.
Keep in mind that ITVX is still a work in progress. According to ITV, the technical work started last summer, and many things can still change between now and November.
Choosing to launch just before World Cup isn’t a coincidence, of course – as it “brings in huge audiences and lots of light viewers to ITV, so people who haven’t been to ITV Hub for a while will come in and say ‘this is different, this is better'”.
So for now, here’s everything we currently know about the new platform.
What Is ITVX?
With streaming services taking over the TV landscape, ITV decided to revamp its current streaming offer, ITV Hub.
ITVX signals ITV’s new “digital-first” approach. It will have 15,000 hours of content (compared to 4,000 on ITV Hub), and new shows will launch on the service every week, often months before their broadcast on ITV’s linear channels.
In ITV’s words, the move from ITV Hub to ITVX is “a move from a catch-up service to a full-blown streaming service” – something that will try and compete with the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon’s Prime Video.
Most importantly, ITVX will be a free – with adverts – service, first and foremost.
There will be a premium, paid tier, which will remove all the adverts when you’re watching on-demand content – but ITV made a point of saying that the Premium tier is not the main focus – ITVX is all about creating a premium FREE streaming service, with money coming in from advertisers (they went so far as to say that the premium tier is “just a small add-on”).
So, almost all of ITVX’s content will be available – at the same time – on both the free and premium tiers, with one exception (that we know of now) – BritBox, which will be a “bonus” for the Premium tier subscribers (read more about the changes coming to BritBox UK here).
How Will ITVX Look And Perform?
Longtime readers, and users of ITV Hub, would know that ITV’s streaming platform has known many ups and downs, with technical difficulties and meltdowns around major events.
Therefore, ITVX has been rebuilt “on new technologies and user architecture”, along with a brand new user interface.
While ITV did show a few screenshots from ITVX’s beta interface – we’re told that the look and feel of the site are not yet final, and may still change before the official launch.
At its current state, the interface is somewhat similar to the current BritBox app, with big tiles of content and a main menu of icons on the left side – but again, that may still change.
ITVX will also add personalisation that people have come to expect from modern services like Netflix, with user profiles (something that still doesn’t exist on BBC iPlayer or Sky, for example).
“The more you watch, the more ITVX gets to know you, with personalised suggestions”, ITV say, and there will also be a “safe space” for kids, when you open a kids profile.
On What Devices Will ITVX Work?
The current ITV Hub app is available on almost every streaming device sold in the UK, as well as on Freeview Play devices.
The plan is for ITVX to replace the ITV Hub app wherever it is currently available – so on Smart TVs, streaming devices like the Roku and Fire TV, Freeview Play recorders, mobile phones, tablets and more.
One important addition is Sky Q: currently, it doesn’t even have the full ITV Hub app (though it’s still supposed to be added this year), but according to ITV, the intention is for ITVX to be available on Sky Q at launch.
Sky Glass, the new streaming TV from Sky, already has the full ITV Hub app – so will presumably have ITVX at launch as well.
Finally, do remember that ITVX is a UK-only service and will not be available anywhere else in the world (at least for now).
What Content Will ITVX Have?
As mentioned, ITVX will launch with 15,000 hours of content on the free tier – along with additional 6,000 hours of BritBox content on the premium tier.
The content library will include:
Live Channels: Live streaming versions of the current slate of ITV’s linear channels that are also available with an aerial on Freeview, YouView and Freesat (note that on live channels you will continue to see adverts even if you pay for the premium tier).
ITVX will also double down on live events, such as sports (FIFA World Cup) and reality TV finals (Love Island Final, anyone?) – something that will differentiate it from most other streaming services that don’t focus on live events.
Exclusive Weekly Premieres: Many new ITV originals will come to ITVX first, months before they’re broadcast on ITV’s linear channels, and may drop the entire series all at once, with every episode available to watch from Day 1.
Some ITVX premieres that have been mentioned include:
- A Spy Among Friends, a limited drama series starring Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce as two spies and lifelong friends.
- Deep Fake – A new comedy using truly innovative and jaw-dropping techniques to create hilarious celebrity set-ups.
- The Confessions of Frannie Langton – Sara Collins’ award-winning debut gothic novel brought to the screen. This powerful period drama stars Karla-Simone Spence as Frannie Langton, the drama’s young protagonist born into a life of slavery who is fighting to tell her own story.
- Three Little Birds – Devised by Lenny Henry and based on the experiences of his own family, this is the story of a group of young friends finding their way to Birmingham, after they journey over from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation.
Additionally, as we reported last week, Originals that were previously produced (or intended for) BritBox UK, will now switch over to ITVX, including Series 2 of Irvine Welsh’s Crime Adaptation
On-Demand Boxsets: The VOD section will include exclusive boxsets, with thousands of hours of binge-able series. The boxsets will come from several sources – not just ITV, and will include US content from various partners.
As of now, for example, we know that ITV signed a content deal with WarnerMedia that will bring UK premieres of The Sex Lives of College Girls and All American, along with back-library shows such as The OC, One Tree Hill, Supernatural and Nikita.
Blockbusters Films: One of the staples of modern streaming services, Big-name films are a must these days, and ITVX will try to compete in that arena as well, with blockbusters from major studio partners, such as Warner Bros., Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony and more.
ITVX intends to stream 500 films for free in its first year alone, with a constantly refreshed selection of titles and 150 films on the service at any one time.
20 Themed ‘FAST’ Channels: Free Ad-supported TV Channels (also known as FAST) are becoming more and more popular these days – they’re basically “live” playlists that stream content based around a theme or specific show.
Other known players in this market are Pluto TV, IMDb TV, Plex Channels and others – and ITVX will join in with dynamically created linear streaming channels around topics such as true crime or 90s Favourites, or specific shows such as The Only Way Is Essex.
How Much Will ITVX Cost?
The main ITVX tier will be free, with advert breaks, but the premium tier will let you watch without adverts, and will add BritBox UK to the mix (and possibly additional content partners in the future).
The final price isn’t known yet, but With ITV’s BritBox service currently costing £5.99/month, and ITV Hub+ (the existing ad-free version of ITV Hub) costing £3.99/month, we can assume ITVX’s Premium tier will be priced around the £6-£8/month mark, perhaps with cheaper annual deals.
When ITVX launches, existing annual BritBox subscribers will be migrated over to ITVX (presumably at no extra cost, at least for the remainder of their annual subscription), letting them enjoy BritBox’s existing content library, plus ITVX’s additional content.
For more future updates, make sure you Subscribe to our free newsletter.