UK commercial broadcaster ITV is to launch a pay TV channel on the BSkyB platform later this year.
The new service, ITV Encore, will feature ITV drama series from recentyears and will, from next year, screen original commissions.
ITV has also struck a deal with Sky that will see ITV content being made available through Sky’s online and connected TV platforms Sky+ HD, Sky Go, Now TV and Sky Store.
The move marks the commercial broadcaster’s first significant foray into pay TV since the failure of the ill-fated digital terrestrial platform ITV Digital in 2002.
The deal with Sky also includes the launch of ITV catch up and archive VoD and simulcast of ITV channels on Sky Go, together with launch of ITV Player on the Now TV box, and the renewal of the carriage deal for ITV 2, 3 and 4 HD and ITV catch up and archive VOD on the Sky+ HD platform.
“ITV’s brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year – we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade,” said ITV CEO Adam Crozier. “The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels, and will complement ITV3, home to our long-running, classic drama series. ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.”