ITV To Launch New Free-to-Air Channel, ITVBe.

ITV is to expand its free-to-air family of channels with the launch of ITVBe, featuring the best entertaining lifestyle and reality programming from the UK and the US. From launch, ITVBe will become the exclusive home of ITV’s award winning series, The Only Way is Essex.

The new channel, which is likely to appeal to a younger, female audience, will also feature acquired content, including the US Real Housewives franchise, which currently airs in daytime on ITV2.

ITVBe, which will launch towards the end of the year, will be wholly funded by advertising and sponsorship, and will be available free on all the major broadcasting platforms, including Freeview, Sky and Virgin Media.

ITVBe will complement ITV2 which will continue to strengthen its position as the home of unashamed entertainment for 16-34 year olds, focusing on scripted series, irreverent panel shows and formats, and youth skewing commissions and acquisitions with bold humour at their heart.

The multi-award winning comedy Plebs, the second series of The Job Lot starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Hadland, and the hit panel show Celebrity Juice will air later this year on ITV2, alongside new comedy, drama and entertainment, acquired and commissioned, as well as other shows aimed at 16-34s from new genres, such as Release The Hounds.

Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV, said:

“ITVBe will be a terrific new addition to our family of channels. It reinforces our plan to maximise audiences and revenues from our broadcasting business. Alongside our recently announced new pay channel ITV Encore, this is another important step forward in our strategy to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK.”

Peter Fincham, Director of Television at ITV, said:

“Expanding ITV’s family of channels to introduce a new free-to-air, female skewing channel focusing on entertainment and reality means our viewers will have access to even more great content. We identified an opportunity to develop what is currently part of the ITV2 schedule - reality and non-scripted shows, which are very popular with young women and housewives with kids - into a distinct channel proposition, aimed more squarely at that audience. ITV2 will continue to be the youngest channel in our portfolio, outside of CITV, and the strategy of bringing more scripted series, both acquired and commissioned, will continue apace, alongside panel shows, formats and other young skewing commissions.”
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