back to article ITV preps pay TV service

ITV is expected to launch a pay-TV service that'll include a new channel and high definition versions of its current selection. ITV The broadcaster is in talks with BSKYB to supply HD versions of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV 4 as satellite channels, according to yesterday's Sunday Times (behind a paywall so no link love). New CEO …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Oh really

    Do they really think people will pay for the utter shite that ITV turns out ? ITV haven't made any good programmes since the '70s.

    1. david bates


      Which that genius Michael Grade binned.

      Beyond that I suspect you have a point...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    high definition versions of its current selection

    Looking forward to an HD version of ITV1-HD. (OK, so I mean a full bandwidth version, but for footy it amounts to the same.)

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Pay TV in they will pay me to watch the soaps, lame gameshows, talentless wannabes and other dross that they currently broadcast? The only decent thing ITV has is the Champions League, and no-one would watch that if they could see it somewhere else.

  4. Jon Press

    Bye-bye freesat, then...

    ...even if they are seriously considering pay tv (

    I doubt ITV as a Freesat partner would be terribly interested in having two differently-encrypted versions of ITVx HD so their long-term commitment to Freesat must be in some doubt if they're pursuing the Sky option.

    Given 5's pulling out of terrestrial HD and C4's current HD absence on Freesat, it seems that auntie's going to have two platforms from which there are departures but no arrivals.

  5. heyrick Silver badge

    ITV? Pay? For real?

    Are we speaking of the same ITV that nearly crashed and burned 8-10 years ago for coming up with a pay service that, um, nobody actually wanted?

    Are we talking of the same ITV that gets viewers hooked on a good series (a few homegrown, or numerous imports), only to then cancel said series for a stupid excuse like "to reinvigorate our brand"?

    Are we talking of the same ITV that showcases the innumerable talents of Mr. Cowell over and over and over...?

    Are we talking of the same ITV that believes ... REALLY... long... ... ... pauses ... ... in critical places (Philip Schofield, Dancing on Ice - I'm looking at YOU) cranks up the tension to unbearable levels? It actually has become so silly it is its own cliché, but hey, it's another 45 seconds that they don't have to fill!

    Are we talking the same ITV that cares more about its advertisers than its viewers, to the degree of cutting to adverts during critical parts of sporting events, such as, oh, perhaps, during the FINAL lap of the F1?

    Are we talking of the same ITV that still, after all these years, has not learned the art of cutting scenes transparently, and sometimes does things as stupid as dubbing an American shouting an obscenity with a Scouser speaking a softer word. Nah, we'd NEVER notice that...

    Are we talking of the same ITV that offers "I'm A Celebrity..." Who the hell are those people?

    Are we talking of the same ITV that makes programmes like "The nation's billion favourite adverts" which probably cost next to zero to make and fill an oversized chunk of programming time which is, no doubt, preferable to having a Real Idea.

    Are we talking of the same ITV whose lovely rousing go-out-on-a-high-note ending of "Britain's Got Talent - Talent Search" is the same predictable thing every frigging time.

    Are we talking of the same ITV that is so obsessed with "brand-awareness" that they'll append the same puke-looking end credits to every programme, and not content with that, they'll do older (like, '80s...) programmes the disservice of the pukey-ending.

    No, I don't think we are talking of THAT particular ITV, for if we were, I'd stuggle to wonder why people would be interested in a pay version...

  6. Mr. Fatuous

    Yeah right

    Do ITV really think their output is worth money? I can rarely be bothered to watch it for free.

  7. Tony S
    Big Brother


    I remember watching an American commentator on a Clive James programme back in the late 80s shortly after Sky launched it's 4 channels on the Astra 1A satelite. They were talking about how 4 channels would quickly increase, and there were questions about the level of quality of the programme making.

    The commentator (can't remember his name) made the comment "In a few years time, you will begin to realise that Benny Hill is one of your major intellectuals". I think that this has proven to be pretty accurate.

    I have no problem with the increase in channels or even if they want to charge for it. If someone really wants to watch the WWE and pay £15 for the privilege, that is their concern. As I am not the slightest bit interested in the football, they can even charge for watching those games as far as I am concerned.

    The problem is that BSkyB paid so much for the rights to broadcast football, they couldn't get it all back from those that want to watch. They therefore charged all the other viewers extra (although they denied this). With their tie in with Sky, it was only a short time before ITV would want to move to the same kind of business model as it appears to be successful.

    The concept of quality seems to be something that doesn't even get discussed. Expect more stupid game shows, more "reality" programmes, "grittier" (i.e. tackier) soap operas and talk shows that make Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer look like Mother Theresa on happy pills.

    Fortunately, my TV still comes with an "Off" button - I wonder how long it will be before the TV companies manage to do deal with the manufacturers, so that you can't turn them off?

    You will be a good little consumer.

  8. Chad H.


    So instead of just "the voting show" we're going to have "the voting channel"... Vote now for the vote you'd like to vote in.

    Sorry excuse me a moment... *answers phone* Hello? Yes, this is the smart ass who posted about itv... You loved the vote show? 12 episodes? Sure, not a problem.

    Sorry, where was I?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Running before you can walk.

    I'd suggest ITV's big problem is nobody actually wants to watch them at all, even for free. As well as haemorrhaging viewers and going even further downmarket - their fall has resulted in lower ad revenues that they need to fix BY PRODUCING PROGRAMMING PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH.

    Pay TV channels is missing the point - crap TV is the problem.

  10. Watlingfen

    Is HD to TV equiv. to DAB?

    No, not kidding, it seems certain folks are really keen on a £1000 + for a HD 'ready' tele where the only decent interesting programmes are by Sir David At' or David Dimbleby . Or maybe watching England being beaten in high spec. picy!

    ITV in the last few years after sweeping all that 'messy' Anglia, HTV , STV and the rest into a nice ITV programmes/studios heap now really show how prepared to go the extra mile to cobble things up more by expecting the bloke with the 50" screen over the fireplace - designed to give kneck problems- to pod (uw sorry) pay more of his beer and pizza money on ITV2/3 HD! ok we know BBC3/4 only starts at 7pm and the programmes are really awful - but 'Holiday Showdown' famous for its " I'm not stayin' ere it's a **** hole" comments, (****'s beeped out) and that other programme where one can 'enjoy' watching TV personalities deliberately ****ing (where the ****'s are deliberately kept in), hardly warants high definition !

    Between them ITV and BBC have messed up TV and radio in the UK - it would be a brave but sensible government who ended ITV's franchise and BBC charter and said lets first ask the viewer and listener.

    1. Alan Gauton


      You do know STV still exists - and because of that viewers in Scotland using Sky still can't get an official ITV-1/STV HD channel. (You can add it as an "other channel", but can't record it).

  11. Dick Emery

    Pay for ads

    I bet they still show adverts on the pay version too.

    For all the oldies on here remember this song?

    "Welcome welcome welcome home to I............ TEEEEEEEEEE VEEEEEEEEEE!"

  12. Xpositor

    How appealing...

    No matter how high the definition of a picture of a turd, it is still a picture of a turd. Exciting though, because now there will be more opportunities to watch a wider variety of turds in higher definition - although no doubt trying to use the same amount of bandwidth as the pixelated turd channels.

    What's that you say, they want to charge you _extra_ for it?


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    How much HD content on these HD channels?

    Most of what ITV 3 & 4 show is repeats of old shows filmed on video. There are no HD versions to show, only scaled versions, which is barely any better than just letting your own TV scale it up for you.

    And even the old 60s stuff that was filmed... are they really going to go back to the studios and pay for new HD scans of the same shows which will then get watched by a few tens of thousands of viewers? Unlikely, and if the amount of scratches and general aged condition of the SDTV copies they show of The Persuaders is anything to go by, a real HD copy would look terrible.

    It's fine having an HDTV and an HD channel... but if you have nothing to actually show on it that's genuine HDTV, it's all a waste of money.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      HD is like Fairtrade

      For the average consumer, the difference between the "worthy" alternative and the bog-standard product is slight, if it exists at all. However, the benefit comes from the nice warm feeling you get when you buy something that's just a little better than what (you think) the unwashed masses get. Even if the benefit is something intangible like a couple of pennies going to a farmer in a dusty country, or the cows getting music played to them while they lactate.

      So, no. I doubt there will be any initiative to take rescanned copies of the original material. We'll just be treated to stuff that is upconverted, then compressed, then sent to our tellys, then uncompressed, then squided (technical term) about some more for overscan, then displayed with a little channel logo on the screen. Meanwhile, the story, characters and dialog will be exactly the same as on any other TV of any other size, technology, shape or screen type. Just as it has been every other time we've seen that particular episode of whatever it was, at any time in the past 40 or more years.

  14. Pete 2 Silver badge

    A silver lining

    Whatever ITV do, the Beeb always seem to copy. Whether that's because they feel the need to chase audiences or just to honk them off is difficult to say. Though my money's on the latter, since the beeb seem to think it's all a big game anyway.

    In this case, I fully support ITV's plans. Not because they have any programmes worth watching - except possibly the Rugby World Cup finals in 2011, but because there's every chance the BBC will follow them, lemming-like into the pay-per-view or subscription arena. If they do that, then we'll be able to kiss goodbye to the TV licence tax - as the government now call it - and only be forced to pay for the stuff we watch, rather than all the stuff the BBC board randomly choose to mug us for at present.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Must be a joke

    There is nothing on any of the subsidiary channels that is even remotely HD, The professionals or Randall and Hopkirk Deceased aren't going to look any better, the only difference it'll cost you to watch old shows that you can watch currently for free, and frankly apart from the Tour De France on ITV 4 there is nothing worth watching anyway, and as it goes ITV is the best of the Subsidiary channels (IMACO).

  16. BillyIdol
    Paris Hilton

    ITV Pay Per View

    This would be the same ITV which regularly adds an extra advert break to shows such as The Sweeney (which has 2 advert breaks catered for in the original transmission) thereby cynically cutting the important parts out of shows...? Yes, this is the same ITV which thinks we actually enjoy shows starting at 3 minutes past the hour, then going for a break after 6 minutes.

    We all knew this was going to happen. The Tories had to promise the Murdoch empire something, and the recent relaxing of TV rules is the start of this. Jeremy Hunt is now waffling on about the BBC being a subscription service, which is music to the ears of news corp.

    After ITV got rid of World in Action and replaced it with Trever McDonald's dumbed down rubbish, ITV could never recover. Adverts "accidentally" inserted during live TV, well they do that in America too, so why not here...?

    "The Dream that died" is a good book if you want to know why ITV collapsed in a pile of its own brown matter.

    I'll stick to downloading my TV shows minus the ads thank you.

    I could make a double entendre about Paris and slipping or going downhill but that would probably be ITV's next show...

  17. JasonW


    But from what I see a lot of the schedule of these two channels is ITV output from the 1970s,80s & 90s... a lot of it still in 4:3 and all of it in SD. What's the point?

  18. Refugee from Windows

    Past their best

    Having previously worked with someone who was involved in "digitising" their back catalogue, it seems the idea that digital copies never deteriorate and can be played over and over again has come true. They are living on their past, and their present is, er, gruesome. There is so little I want to watch on it, let alone pay for it, what's the point?

    I don't want to pay Sky and if free TV is going to get even worse than I'll do what I did in the 80's and get rid of the telly altogether - and put up with being pestered by the TVLRO National Socialists.

  19. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Please, please...

    ... can we go back to the days when all your TV came with was four channel buttons—with one of them a spare*, too?

    I have fond memories of my last television, which finally popped its clogs in 1995. Particularly the sonic remote control which had even fewer buttons than the remote control units Apple sells.

    ITV and Sky take the Microsoft approach: offer everything they can dig up—gold, platinum, turds, bits of old tat, etc. And then they claim this is a Good Thing(TM) because it means viewers have a "choice". Utterly missing the point that people only care about *meaningful* choices.

    * (Usually labelled "ITV2". Not once did I ever see spares labelled "Channel 4". So much for foresight.)

  20. Graham Lockley

    The Boss

    "We switched 'round and 'round 'til half-past dawn

    There was fifty-seven channels and nothin' on"

    Nuff said really.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    I do hope...

    ...that all ITV-slammers also are not Beeb-slammers. Else we really are in trouble. Surrender to Sky is imminent. V is for visitors.

    Mind you, ITV made its own shit shell so it kinda deserves it.

    To make my point: I'm watching Top Gear in HD as I write this. First: ITV could have but didn't commission a Top Gear-esque programme. Imagine the pairs of eyes it could have delivered to advertisers. 5 million?

    But hey, why take the risk on an "expensive" programme? Better to show some shite such as (checks EPG expecting to find shite) Ladette to Lady or The Zone, where we can apparently join Jilly Halliday with some great quality bedding on offer.


    Secondly: I'm watching on HD. I can't get ITV HD on satellite whereas I can get BBC HD. Hmm.

    (In the name of balance the same EPG tells me BBC3 are showing Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special, not my cup of tea, but it's hardly Christmas) and Baby Beauty Queens (definitely not my cup of tea!). Mind you at least BBC4 have some documentary about parks on.

    There's an idea: EPG Watch. (Might be more interesting than the programmes.)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pay for ITV? They're kidding right?

    Exposure to ITV has become a little like being strapped into a chair in a room with your demented Aunt, who repeatedly recounts her only remaining memory of earlier life; a distorted recollection of a day trip to Clacton as a four year old. The new innovation is to apparently amplify her voice and make you pay for the privilege.

    I'm personally happy to pay the licence fee as the BBC and C4 have more than enough for my needs, and there is zero chance of me paying Murdoch for imported drivel.

    ITV were never up to much even before the implosion of the last 10 years. Until they work out that you have to offer something worthwhile to fill the gaps between the ever increasing ads, the relentless spiral down will continue. They should be freed of the public service remit and cut loose to sink or swim like any other private broadcast business, in which case their demise would be assured by Christmas.

  23. Shaun 1

    Can we request...

    That the standard definition versions of ITV 2,3,4 also go subscription, so I don't accidentally switch to them

  24. Wize

    Except for viewers in Scotland

    We don't even have ITV normal def up here.

    We have STV, which does show a lot of ITV through the day, but is different most evenings. We get crap like Underbelly (an Australian true crime thingie) instead of the Bill and other such nonsense.

    Doesn't sound like we are missing much.

  25. Refugee from Windows
    Thumb Down

    Past their best update

    According to my source, rescanning might be a problem as most of the old film stock went into a skip round the back of Yorkshire Telly in Leeds after it was scanned.

    Randall & Hopkirk, The Champions and many others may never come out as HD then.

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