“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
John Harris, 19th century editor
Or - more topically - here's my post-Palooza pick of potent plans and platforms!
Last Tuesday saw us host our annual ITV Palooza at the Royal Festival Hall, where over 1,300 customers, celebrity talent and ITV colleagues braved the paparazzi on our ‘blue’ carpet to hear our plans for the year ahead. Our main focus was ITVX - our new streaming platform - supported by numerous other associated launches and opportunities. But before I get into our new platform…
Let me emphasise our unchanging commitment to linear broadcast, which will continue to deliver the vast majority of viewing over the coming years. Our ability to deliver mass audiences, often brought together by big, live cultural moments, remains absolutely at the core of what makes ITV such a powerful medium for brands. Monday night was a perfect example - our FIFA World Cup 2022 broadcast of Wales v USA averaged 7.7m with an 11.5m peak (13m across linear AND BVOD), which then translated into I’m A Celebrity with a 51% share and a peak audience of 9.4m (thanks to a welcome return to the jungle, and a certain ‘Matt Hancock Effect’!).
As an aside, strong demand for the football has meant we have limited availability, but we are continuing the 20 percent discount on airtime during live broadcasts on ITV1 for brands who would like to advertise with us during the World Cup, so they can capitalise on those mass audiences.
We’ve also launched companion digital experiences for I'm A Celebrity and the World Cup: a football trivia game for mobile called KnockOut, with our partners at Live Tech Games, and a new I’m A Celebrity map and challenges in Fortnite with our partners at Metavision.
But back to ITVX, where our £160m content investment in ITVX is in ADDITION to our current linear schedule (and not a reallocation of budget). As we replace ITV Hub with its 4,000 hours of catch-up content, the launch of ITVX on 8th December will deliver a leap to 11,000 free hours of on-demand programming. We think it’s the single biggest additional investment in British content for 25 years. As Dags and I said on stage… ITVX is a serious streaming player, and WE are now a serious player in streaming! We have layer upon layer of additional content:
We’ll drop a brand new exclusive show every single week - 60 between now and the end of 2023 - of which two-thirds will be scripted drama and comedy with the remainder from factual and reality
We’ll have 1,000 on-demand movies across the year, with at least 250 available at any one time
New content partnerships that will deliver everything from Animé, to stand-up comedy, to true crime
Viewers can watch all of our live linear channels, and we’ll also add 20 live FAST channels at launch (adding more as the year progresses)
A live news rail and hundreds of box sets from the UK and the US
Plus, you’ll be able to watch everything on linear on ITVX, including all our sporting events (the World Cup, the FA Cup, Lionesses, 6 Nations, Rugby World Cup), entertainment and reality (2 x Love Islands next year and Big Brother in the autumn)
And all for free. It’s an irresistible offer for viewers during challenging financial times. As such, we expect it to drive massive growth in our audience next year.
If you’re signed up to Planet V, then you’re ALREADY plugged into ITVX. Over 90% of VOD bookings are already managed through Planet V, and every agency group is active on the platform, so now we’re announcing Planet V 2.0, whose pilot phase went live last week, with a full roll out across the first half of next year. Version 2 is built entirely on your feedback: we’ve brought every agency group into our design consultation and put even more control into your hands.
We also announced two new beta products from ITV AdLabs. The first is ‘Matchmaker’: a new retail media solution that enables advertisers to enhance ITVX targeting by creating audiences powered by Tesco Clubcard data through Dunnhumby, and Boots loyalty database. So, for example, L’Oreal can now target ITVX viewers who buy cosmetics in Boots, and Fever Tree can target buyers of spirits in Tesco.
The second launch is our new Share Of Voice reporting tool, which is powered by Adalyser and means category analysis that may currently take brands hours to deliver, may now be possible in minutes. We’ve just completed a successful launch beta test, and we’re now inviting up to 1,000 advertisers to join us for the next stage. If you’d like to take part then please get in touch using our sign-up email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just like with Planet V and AdLabs, we’re bringing you into our development process early as we explore additional advertising opportunities within ITVX. I’d like to say massive thanks to over 100 customers who have worked with us since September to prioritise 14 new concepts such as FAST channel partnerships, in-content shoppable advertising, dynamic A/B testing, and playback control. Your feedback is shaping the first wave of ITVX opportunities, and we’ll share more in the new year.
And as we invest in both linear and ITVX, it’s timely to share new research from Thinkbox, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky - drawing on insight from Gain Theory, GroupM, PwC UK - which explores the power of Broadcaster VOD. It finds campaigns that use both linear TV together with BVOD are typically up to 10% more effective than linear alone at delivering ROI. Even at low spends, a mixed approach to video investment increased short-term return.
And finally, if you missed our recent Travel webinar, then you can catch up here as ITV’s Business Development Director Jason Spencer discussed our new research study with Lucy Huxley (Travel Weekly editor-in-chief), Giles Hawke (CEO of Cosmos Tours and Avalon Waterways) and Richard Singer (CEO of Ice Travel Group). We’ve also just announced that our matched funding ‘pot’ for new to ITV travel advertisers has now doubled to £1m.
I’ll leave you here with a firm 100% guaranteed prediction that both England and Wales will leave their group to deliver glory once again to these fair isles!
MD, Commercial, ITV