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ITV tees up paid-for ITV Player content, makes Norwegian strategic acquisition

On the back of announcing robust results for its second financial quarter, ITV has acquired a Norwegian production company and has revealed plans to add a fee-paying component to its over the top ITV Player.

The UK’s leading independent broadcaster feels that the time is ripe to further monetise its ITV player proposition. At present the over the top player is ad-funded and offers free access to seven day catch-up to ITV programming. Yet over the last twelve months the broadcaster has been experimenting with developing a pay strategy.

An ITV spokesperson assured Rapid TV News that there was “no intention to put what’s now free behind a paywall.” However the spokesperson added that the company would explore opportunities to allow online video users to purchase programmes from the ITV archive. The spokesperson stressed that the move should not deter ITV from maintaining its free to air and free online video products.

The intention is to roll out the pay-component in autumn 2012 and even though there is no official pricing set on content as yet, Rapid TV News has learned that ITV has ball park prices of 50p per single episode and up to £4 for a box set. Initially ITV will offer paid for content on PCs and the roadmap contains plans to rollout the service to connected TVs and other connected platforms over the coming months after launch.

ITV Studios has been a growth engine for ITV over the last year or so and in a further fillip to its organic expansion, the division has bought Mediacircus, one of Norway’s most successful independent production companies with a pedigree in entertainment, factual and documentary programming and which also produces the ITV Studios format Come Date with Me. The company which has been in existence since 2006 will become part of ITV Studios Nordic.

“We are now beginning to build on our strengths with selective investments and partnerships at home and abroad,” said Kevin Lygo, Managing Director of ITV Studios. “These announcements mark an important chapter in our growth story as we progress our plan to develop our creative pipeline and strengthen our production capability.”

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