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It’s still not here, but ITV did today stage a press launch hailing its eager-awaited web revamp as “the most comprehensive commercial website offered by any major broadcaster in the world.” The UK commercial TV market leader’s new ITV.com originally was slated for a March roll-out, then an event was penciled in for today – and it was known the £20 million ($40 million) project would center on video-on-demand plans. Yet what the network unveiled today was not the full public website — “which will go live to consumers within weeks” — but a media launch in which it put more flesh on the bone. Details from a press release:-
— New technology: A new EPG will send reminders via SMS and email. Links to the media player will be displayed on every web page.
— Live streaming: ITV.com will simulcast the network’s four commercial TV channels.
— 30-day catch-up: The entire schedule, according to Times of London, will be available for free. Only Champions League soccer matches, which ITV had already offered at a price, will be pay. No word on regional.
— Web-only content: Videos, previews, live chats, interviews, “on-set blogs” and unseen scenes will be made by a 40-strong multimedia team in a “360-commissioning” process. Sounds like ITV wants to ramp up online in the commissioning and production process from the start; it recently scored a success when it opened its Emmerdale prime-time soap opera up to viewer suggestions, creating interactive drama narrative. Made-for-broadband content will include a documentary, Web Lives.
– Broadband games: They’re resurrecting classic 80s and 90s gameshows like Blockbusters, Catchphrase, Countdown and Family Fortunes. Could prove successful if the sales of those shows’ DVD game equivalents last Christmas were anything to go by.
ITV CEO Michael Grade said the new site will be “a major step in ITV