ITV will roll out its new online pay player on PCs before it becomes available on other computers and mobile devices this autumn.
The UK commercial broadcaster’s player, which is in its final trial stages, will initially offer customers the chance to rent single episodes and box sets before rolling out as a subscription service. Rental prices will range from 50p (US78¢) per episode to between £2.99 and £4.00 for an entire season.
It will also provide an ad-supported seven-day catch-up service that is free of charge, and give viewers the chance to see episodes of their favourite shows before their terrestrial debuts.
Adam Crozier, ITV’s chief executive, speaking yesterday following the publication of the broadcaster’s half-year results, said: “We’ve been in trial over the last couple of months in around 5,000 homes. As part of that, there have been pay transactions going through so we’ve been testing the model itself.
“Initially, that will launch just on PCs. It will be a seven-day catch-up on an ad-supported basis for free, plus it will have over 1,000 hours of ad-free archive content for rental, like a video shop, rental for a single programme or box-set.”
From PCs, Crozier said the pay platform would then be made available across other platforms and devices, while additional content will also be made available to users.
“The trials have just finished,” he said. “We just need to look at what learning comes out of it. I’m not aware of any issues so sometime in the autumn I would imagine we would push ahead with the launch.”
ITV’s online strategy is becoming increasingly important as it seeks to widen its revenue streams, and not rely so heavily on advertising, as part of its five-year transformation plan.
Online pay and interactive revenues totalled £47m in the first six months of this year, an increase of 24% year-on-year.
Futhermore, ITV Player recorded 217 million views in the first half of 2012, an increase of 20% compared with the same period last year. Ninety-five percent of video requests came from mobile devices, such as smartphones and iPads.
Crozier said it was clear viewers wanted to watch programmes wherever, whenever and on any devices, and said that criteria is shaping ITV’s pay player development.
“What we’ve done is focus on what’s becoming ever clearer, in terms of viewer desires, which is to get access to programmes in whatever way suits them and then interaction,” he said.