Get Ready: Even More Adverts Are Coming To ITVX

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As ITVX gears up to celebrate its first year, a change is looming on the horizon for its viewers – a new wave of adverts.

The streaming service, which has quickly become a household name since its launch, is introducing a new advert format in 2024 – the “pause ad.” This innovative yet potentially divisive feature will display adverts when viewers pause their content.

This change comes amidst ITVX’s first-anniversary celebrations, a period highlighting the service’s impressive achievements.

In just one year, ITVX has shattered streaming records, amassing over 2.7 billion streams and capturing the attention of more than 40 million registered users.

ITVX app on a smartphone

But as it steps into its second year, the introduction of the new ad formats (see more on that below) raises questions: will this new advertising strategy enhance the platform’s revenue streams, or could it risk alienating a portion of its rapidly growing viewer base?

And what does it mean for ITVX’s “Premium” tier?

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into ITVX’s journey, examining both its celebratory milestones and the potential implications of its latest advertising venture.

Child watching ITVX Kids on laptop mockup

ITVX, which launched in December 2022, is a free-to-watch (with adverts) service that replaced the long-running ITV Hub app as a full-fledged streaming destination.

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).

ITVX is available on most of the streaming devices and Smart TVs sold in the UK (except for several older boxes and TVs), as well as on Virgin Media’s TV boxes, Sky Glass, Sky Stream and Sky Q as well.

While ITVX is a free streaming service first and foremost, based on 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 and Studio Canal Presents..

ITVX Premium normally costs £5.99/month or £59.99/year.

ITVX – Soon With Even More Adverts

ITVX is set to introduce a new type of advert in 2024 – the “pause ad.”

This means that when viewers hit pause while watching a show or movie on ITVX, a static advert will pop up on their screen.

Man watching pop up advert on TV ads
Illustrative Image

This concept isn’t entirely new, as Channel 4’s streaming service already uses a similar approach, and you can see it on a few other services as well.

For regular TV fans, this change might be a bit of a surprise. We’re used to seeing adverts during the usual breaks, but having one appear right in the middle of your paused screen is something different – and it’s hard to escape.

With streaming services, we’ve gotten used to fewer interruptions, and for many, that’s a big part of their appeal.

So, the introduction of pause ads on ITVX could feel like a step backwards – but it’s a tricky balance, as ITVX needs to make money through adverts, but they also don’t want to annoy their viewers.

In addition to this new format, ITV is saying 2024 will also bring with it to ITVX new “short form advertising opportunities, even more sponsorship opportunities, and regionalised news”, which would let advertisers target a smaller, more localised audience.

ITVX Premium: The Ad-Free Experience With A Caveat

ITVX Premium, the platform’s paid tier, offers an experience with reduced advertising interruptions. But as we previously reported, ITVX Premium does not entirely eliminate advertising.

Watching ITVX Premium on TV

Even with a Premium subscription, certain US shows and films continue to feature a significant number of breaks.

These breaks then feature promotional adverts for other ITVX shows, a consequence of complex licensing agreements.

This aspect of ITVX Premium has been a point of contention among subscribers, who expect a completely ad-free experience for their subscription fee (try watching an American show like 12 Monkeys or Arrow, and see how annoying it is to stop 5 times for promotional adverts – when you’re paying for Premium).

With the announcement of the pause ad format, it’s unclear yet whether this will apply to ITVX Premium subscribers.

If pause adverts are included in the Premium experience, it could further complicate the value proposition of the paid tier.

ITVX Categories TV mockup

Subscribers choosing Premium for an ad-free experience might find the inclusion of any new ad formats, including pause ads and TV show sponsorships, to be a step back from their expectations.

ITVX’s First Year: A Celebratory Look Back

On December 8th, 2023, ITVX will mark its first year, so ITV is marking the occasion with a few interesting stats and facts.

The platform has achieved over 2.7 billion streams since its launch, with more than 40 million registered users. 

Over the year, ITVX has seen substantial growth across all genres, with drama, sport, and film streams more than doubling.

Highlights include 340 million streams of Love Island, and significant viewership increases for events like the Rugby World Cup, which was streamed 60 million times, up +80% on the last tournament in 2019.

 

The new Big Brother reboot, with its 36 episodes, brought in 38 million streams.

Big Brother ITVX collage

The platform’s reach has extended significantly, evident in its 1 billion streaming hours and high user engagement rates.

The service has not only achieved numerical success but also critical acclaim. With breakout hits like The Twelve and Love & Death, ITVX has established itself as a competitor in original content.

ITVX Inforgraphic all

Looking ahead to 2024, ITVX is set to expand its offerings, with the highly anticipated The Winter King finally coming to the service (months after the US, unfortunately). 

ITVX will also be the new home of the Oscars ceremony in 2024, along with a new Liverpudlian comedy G’Wed, an uplifting, heart-warming and hilarious portrayal of teenagers today and how they view the world.

2024 will also bring with it the second series of the critically acclaimed comedy-drama The Dry

man watchin streaming tv on tablet

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