ITV shows such as “I’m a Celebrity” are set to be beamed to mobile phone handsets following the signing of a deal with 3.
The partnership, which will initially last for one year, means the 3.2 million users of 3 can watch live television and highlights from ITV shows including The X Factor, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and others planned for 2006.
The video clips will cost GBP0.50 to download. How the revenues will be split is unclear, but ITV expects the move to lead to significantly higher interactive revenues than last year’s GBP31 million.
Charles Allen, the chief executive of ITV, said: With big entertainment shows like [ours], people increasingly want to get the latest gossip and content between shows. ITV is the home of some of the biggest entertainment programs on TV, with millions tuning in to see the latest series of I’m A Celebrity following on from the great success of X Factor.
With big entertainment shows like these people increasingly want to get the latest gossip and content between shows. So we are delivering more of our quality content to viewers on their mobiles and online, supporting our programs, and allowing viewers to access the latest content wherever and however they want it.
Vodafone and Sky already operates a similar scheme, whereby subscribers to Vodafone’s 3G network can access pictures from an initial selection of 19 Sky channels, of which five are broadcast live.
But according to 3, its agreement with ITV differs from the Vodafone-Sky deal in that the television content will be tailored to mobiles and will include highlights and behind-the-scenes footage. Some content will also be available before it’s screened on TV, such previews of the bush tucker trials in I’m A Celebrity…
This agreement with 3, the first deal we have signed of its type, allows us to talk directly to the company’s 3.2m customers, and generate revenues from 3G-enhanced extras like streamed video and clips.
Calling mobile phones a natural extension of the television set, 3’s UK CEO Bob Fuller said It demonstrates clearly how a innovative approach to television, tailoring content for the platform rather than being a simple pipe, will deliver a better customer experience over time.
Meanwhile the BBC is planning to begin a permanent internet simulcast of BBC2. The corporation’s director of TV, Jana Bennett, told the Media Guardian that there was a wake-up call when it emerged in March that the first episode of Doctor Who appeared online illegally weeks ahead of its premiere on TV.
The simulcasts will only be made available to UK users. The BBC already tries to block users outside the UK from accessing broadband streams of its existing online content.