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Telegraph.co.uk reports the UK’s main commercial free-to-air TV broadcaster has delayed a programme under which it wants to charge online viewers for some content. But that’s not quite the case.
The paper cites ITV (LSE: ITV) CEO Adam Crozier’s July 2011 pledge that: “We plan to have a pay mechanism in place around the turn of the year so that we can test what people will pay for (online).”
That doesn’t mean ITV has delayed. Crozier was only putting a January date on the contracting of a payment provider.
An ITV spokesperson tells paidContent: “We can confirm we now have a pay mechanism in place, using MGT’s PayWizard, which will enable us to begin to trial our consumer propositions.
“There is nothing further to announce on those propositions at this time, we will first be conducting closed trials as is standard practice. Our wider pay strategy is also progressing well with deals with subscription platforms LoveFilm and Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) secured in the last month both contributing to our goal of driving new pay revenue streams.”
ITV began saying in mid-2009, as the economic downturn affected its core income stream of ad sales, that it wanted to find more direct income from consumers, using something like “an Oyster card for the internet”, referring to the London Underground payment access card.
The broadcaster hired Robin Pembrooke as online director, has improved its website and has seen ITV Player video views, together with advertising, grow healthily. Martin Goswami is aboard as director of pay and distribution.
Goswami has inked the recent deals which have placed ITV archive shows on Netflix and Lovefilm and its ITV Player on BSkyB (NYSE: BSY). Those are deals for which subscription TV providers pay ITV, but they do not yet satisfy the other plank of iTV’s pay strategy – the one where it hopes consumers will use micropayments to pay for content or services.
ITV executives have spoken in the past in general terms about possibly charging for online Coronation Street extras and the like. It ITV isn’t yet detailing whether it has specific ideas in the pipeline for the trials.
The launch of the UK IPTV joint venture YouView this year should provide ITV an opportunity to charge to viewers in the living room, not just on their computer. But that prospect is tied up in whether the system will achieve a successful launch at all.