ITV’s new streaming service ITVX will launch on 8 December, the broadcaster announced today.
The official date date is weeks later than the mid-November launch that advertisers and media agencies had been expecting, although ITV still plans to begin a phased roll-out this month.
ITV CEO Carolyn McCall chose her words carefully when speaking to The Media Leader about the launch date in October.
“It will coincide with the World Cup. So that’s Q4,” she said during an interview at The Future of Media. “We’ve been saying, stoically, Q4. So soon, very soon; the teams are very heads down at the moment.”
While the 8 December launch will still happen during the World Cup coverage on ITV (shared with the BBC), it will come after the popular group-stage games featuring home nations England and Wales which start on 20 November.
Advertisers had been briefed that the World Cup would be an ideal introduction for a service that is meant to showcase ITV content to casual TV viewers and use algorithm-based content recommendations to persuade them to stay.
The UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster has invested £160m in the new streaming service and has pledged that new dramas will premiere on ITVX nine months before running on the broadcast ITV channel. ITV has also promised 9,000 hours of content, including 300 movies.