ITV is to expand its free-to-air family of channels with the launch of ITVBe, featuring the best entertaining lifestyle and reality programming from the UK and the US. From launch, ITVBe will become the exclusive home of ITV’s award winning series, The Only Way is Essex.
The new channel, which is likely to appeal to a younger, female audience, will also feature acquired content, including the US Real Housewives franchise, which currently airs in daytime on ITV2.
ITVBe, which will launch towards the end of the year, will be wholly funded by advertising and sponsorship, and will be available free on all the major broadcasting platforms, including Freeview, Sky and Virgin.
The multi-award winning comedy Plebs, the second series of The Job Lot starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Hadland, and the hit panel show Celebrity Juice will air later this year on ITV2, alongside new comedy, drama and entertainment, acquired and commissioned, as well as other shows aimed at 16-34s from new genres, such as Release The Hounds.
“ITVBe will be a terrific new addition to our family of channels,” says Adam Crozier, Chief Executive of ITV. “It reinforces our plan to maximise audiences and revenues from our broadcasting business. Alongside our recently announced new pay channel ITV Encore, this is another important step forward in our strategy to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK.”