ITV’s new streaming service ITVX has launched, making it the first streaming service to have news as a central pillar and creating 19 journalism jobs in the process.
ITVX has replaced ITV’s catch-up service ITV Hub but it includes more original content and, for the first time, a news section featuring both repurposed ITV News content and bespoke video packages.
ITV director of news and current affairs Michael Jermey told Press Gazette: “The thinking behind it is that in the same way as ITV puts news at the heart of its terrestrial television schedules, in launching a really exciting new streaming platform we want to put news at the heart of that as well – and there is nobody who has a streamer where news plays that role and we think it’s quite an exciting point of difference.”
He added that they have “invented a new form of video news” for the service.
The 24/7 news “rail” on ITVX will always feature a “latest news” bulletin, which can be updated as many times as necessary whenever it is warranted by the big stories of the day – meaning it is not locked into particular publication times.
The rail will also feature a mixture of material from across the ITV News and Good Morning Britain broadcast output alongside packages put together specifically for ITVX.
These will include both bitesize, digestible packages and more in-depth reports and users will see ITV News anchors like Tom Bradby and Mary Nightingale giving brief updates for the service outside their usual bulletin times.
Jermey said: “So it is a high-quality, ITV News style of programming, but always available. And the thing I think for people to understand is it’s not only a launch of a new service, but it’s a new type of service.
“So you’ve got news channels where you can get news which is great. You’ve got built programmes on the BBC, on ITV, on Channel 4, which are still very well watched, and lots of people still want to watch those programmes… You can obviously get news from an app or from a website. But this is the first time that within a streamer you can get video on-demand news that is constantly being updated.
“So a viewer of ITVX who’s watching drama or wants to watch an entertainment programme and wants to have a quick update on news without leaving the platform can do so. Equally, people who want video news at any time of the day can come to ITVX to find it.”
Jermey said ITV had “invested heavily” into the news side, with an additional 21 jobs created in total: two are graphics roles, while 19 are editorial.
They are: three content editors, two deputy content editors, seven journalistic producers, three overnight reporters, and four presenters and reporters.
This “quite heavy” investment came less than a year after ITV doubled the length of its evening news programme to an hour from 6.30pm, with several million pounds put into the programme and the creation of 27 jobs.
The free, ad-funded ITVX had a soft launch in November, with Thursday the official live date across all platforms.
Jermey said further features will come later for the news service, including more news being commissioned for ITVX first although it can still be used on other platforms. It will also be able to run special live programming and launch a specific service in every ITV region.
Jermey added: “It’s really a wonderfully simple proposition… you can very quickly get the main news of the day in a very familiar format that people are used to watching on a big television screen. You sort of wonder why didn’t this happen years ago?
“But it’s a really nice consumer proposition, I think, it fits really well with the overall ITVX proposition, which itself I think is quite exciting – 10,000 hours plus of material and original content, all available free. What’s not to like about that?”
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