ITV is to aim towards a young female audience with the launch of a new free-to-air channel, ITVBe.
The latest channel to come from ITVplc will, they say, feature the best entertaining lifestyle and reality programming from the UK and the US. From launch, ITVBe will become the exclusive home of ITV’s lowbrow 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 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. – Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV
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.
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.
The new ITV channel aiming towards women follows the annoucement last year that Sky was to de-feminise their Sky Living channel in the hope of opening it up to a wider audience.
We keep being told that women like watching television with their partners. They don’t want to sit alone in their pink fluffy bedroom, wearing their pink fluffy negligee, watching shows on their own. It’s all about watching with their partners. So shared viewing is extremely important. – Sky Living controller Antonia Hurford-Jones
ITV will also this year launch its first pay channel on Sky’s platform, ITV Encore, which will be home to some of ITV’s most successful drama series of recent years together with original commissions from 2015.