Home Analysis ITV focused on bringing ad loads down with ITVX, says CEO Carolyn...

ITV focused on bringing ad loads down with ITVX, says CEO Carolyn McCall

At the Future of Media event in London earlier this month, Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said the company will bring down the ad load for the ad-funded version of ITVX in comparison to the ad-supported tier of its playback service, ITV Hub. She remarked that, despite lower ad loads, because of the much larger content offering included on ITVX (coupled with ITV’s suite of ad solutions) advertisers would have greater access to targetable audiences. McCall also noted that she does not see Netflix as a competitor in the streaming landscape, given ITV’s UK programming focus.

A Spy Among Friends is one of the shows that will stream first on ITVX
Share on

At the Future of Media event in London hosted by Mediatel Events earlier this month, Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said that, compared to the ad-supported tier of its playback service ITV Hub, the ad-supported tier of ITVX will have a lower ad load. Despite lower ad loads, ITV believes the much larger content offering included on ITVX (coupled with ITV’s suite of ad solutions) would give advertisers greater access to inventory and targetable audiences.

She said: “[Lower ad loads] is a good thing. With ITV Hub, we had 1,500 hours of content on the service, so the inventory was more limited. Whereas with ITVX we are going to have a lot more inventory because we’re launching with 9,000 hours of content, all ad-funded.”

McCall believes the larger range of content will boost viewer’s dwell time in the service. She also said that, coupled with ITV’s significant amount of first-party data, advertisers will have the opportunity to access more targetable audiences through Planet V (the company’s digital programmatic platform.) She continued: “I think what’s really important is that we can target people in a very granular way. We’re going to have something like 20,000 targetable audiences.”

McCall believes ITV is better than anyone else at giving advertisers mass simultaneous reach through its traditional broadcast channels in combination with its streaming services. However, the broadcaster also recognises that brands are not always looking for mass simultaneous reach, but only to extend reach to specific targeted audiences. She believes both broadcast and streaming can play important parts in the marketing mix.

“Porsche is a good example,” she said, “They don’t want mass simultaneous reach. They want men of a certain age who can afford a Porsche and are maybe aspirational and they know exactly – through data matching – how they want to target them. They can use ITVX to do that.”

The combination of AdLabs – ITV’s advertising solutions arm – and Planet V is producing new opportunities for advertisers to plan their media in novel ways, according to McCall. The company is currently running a pilot scheme for a new ad product which will allow advertisers to plan ads according to the weather in the UK, changing automatically based on advertiser preferences and weather conditions in the country.

She also remarked that no funding for linear programming was taken away to fund the launch and development of ITVX. Specifically, an extra £160m was put towards ITVX’s content, and £140m for its data and analytics.

McCall also made clear that the company does not see Netflix as a competitor in the streaming space. She stressed: “We are not a global streaming platform and we never will be.”

She noted that ITV is primarily a public service broadcaster with local and national commissioning and programming. It’s UK focus means that ITVX can be complementary to Netflix (or other global streamers) rather than in competition with them. More broadly she views competitors to ITV as “anyone that takes eyeballs away”, such as Facebook, Google and TikTok, rather than Netflix and Disney+.


Share on