ITV, Britain’s biggest commercial TV network, is finally ready to unveil its long-awaited online video-on-demand offering. MediaWeek reports the broadcaster has circulated invites to a launch ceremony in London on May 1 following a long gestation while a separate regional ITV Local VOD offering was tested. The project, which was slated to offer archive programming and a 30-day online catch-up for many current shows, was due to launch in March. The entire itv.com site is slated for a May 1 relaunch.
VOD will include more than 1,000 hours of archive content for free, catch-up on shows including popular soap Coronation Street and live streaming, according to MediaWeek. An ad-funded model has lined up advertisers including Vodafone and Sony. Channel 4 stole a march in the UK TV VOD stakes when it began offering the majority of its programming available on cable and online under the 4OD moniker in December, while the BBC’s iPlayer is still awaiting approval and is not expected until later this year after it was ordered to make modifications to its proposal. ITV Local leaves plenty to be desired but the broadcaster could get more serious about the national VOD plan – seasoned online exec Annelies van den Belt said ITV was putting $40 million toward the project when she was hired as broadband MD in January.