News: ITV Launches Expat Streaming
One of the UK’s major commercial networks ITV, have just launched a new pay TV service aimed at Expats and European holiday makers, offering access to key soaps whilst abroad.
Named ITV Essentials, the new service will allow anyone outside of the UK to enjoy the latest ITV soaps as long as they are within selected countries. At the moment, the service will only work in Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Gibraltar, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Spain.
The launch is part of ITV’s long term strategy to explore new ways to bring it’s content to viewers whilst driving new revenue streams, having previously begun experimenting with PAYG rentals and premium, ad-free content.
For those lucky enough to be in one of the supported countries at launch, not all content will be available. At the moment, the service is aimed at keeping dedicated followers of selected soaps from missing their favourite addiction and currently only covers Emmerdale and Coronation Street. However, the catch-up window includes episodes from the last 30 days including the latest episodes as they air in the UK.
At the moment, content can only be watched on a PC or Mac via Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable, so holiday makers will have to lug around their desktop if they are not lucky enough to own a more portable notebook. But mobile devices including iPad and iPhone apps are expected in the near future.
ITV offer two different subscriptions, a Holiday Pass, or Living Abroad pass, both costing €5.49 (approx £4.60) for 30 days, with the only difference being that the Living Abroad pass is an on-going monthly subscription.
It will be interesting to see how well this succeeds as the BBC also experimented with their iPlayer Global service, although with only limited success. There is no doubt with the importance of watching television from back home for many expats, as it is one of the most powerful ways to stay connected with their home country. If ITV can tap into this market, and do it right, it could prove to be highly profitable for them.