ITV is on track to launch BritBox, its forthcoming joint-venture streaming service with the BBC, in the second half of 2019.
In a first quarter trading update, issued this week, ITV made the announcement and said that it is making good progress and expects to deliver double digit growth in online revenue for the full year – despite declines in Q1.
Broadcast and online revenue at ITV was down 7% year-on-year in Q1 to £489m with ITV total advertising down 7% – despite a 16% increase in viewing hours for its online service the ITV Hub.
ITV said that the first half of the year will be impacted by “the continuing economic and political uncertainty and its effect on the demand for advertising”.
It also cited the absence of a Football World Cup; planned “essential investments”; the pre-launch costs of BritBox; and the timing of ITV Studios deliveries for declines. ITV total advertising is expected to fall 6% over the first half.
“We are making good progress in delivering the strategy and we expect to launch BritBox in the second half of the year,” said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall in a statement.
“We have also concluded an agreement with a leading ad tech provider, Amobee, which will enable us to deliver programmatic addressable advertising around our premium video inventory on the ITV Hub.
“This means ITV can offer the best of both worlds at scale –mass simultaneous reach across linear channels where we delivered 100% of all commercial audiences over five million, alongside targeted, data-driven addressable advertising in a brand safe environment on the ITV Hub.”
ITV and the BBC announced in February that they had agreed a joint vision for a UK version of their BritBox SVOD service, which is currently available in North America with an offering that is billed as “the very best of British TV”.
The UK version of the service will offer British content alongside new BritBox originals, commissioned from UK production companies. ITV and the BBC also said that they anticipate other partners joining the project.
Speaking at Deloitte and Enders Analysis’ Media and Telecoms 2019 and Beyond event in March, Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said C4 was having “positive and constructive discussions” about partnering on BritBox.
In February, ITV said that its net investment in BritBox will be up to £25 million in 2019, rising to around £40m million in 2020 and declining thereafter.