ITV and C4 joining PS3 on-demand line-up

The ITV Player and Channel 4’s 4oD service are this week set to launch the first commercial TV video content that can be watched via Sony’s PlayStation 3 games console, available to users who have broadband access. The broadcasters are following in the footsteps of the BBC’s iPlayer, which launched on the PS3 last year.

ITV.com recently reported a fall in views of its video content year-on-year and the chief executive, Adam Crozier, has admitted that the service is nowhere near “punching its weight”. He has identified a digital strategy as crucial to delivery of the broadcaster’s turnaround plan.

Robin Pembroke, managing director at ITV.com, said the PS3 deal marked an “acceleration of our distribution strategy”, adding that he also expected to see shows such as Coronation Street and Emmerdale becoming available on internet-enabled TV sets, tablet computers such as the iPad and other gaming consoles. “As awareness of ITV Player grows, so will consumption of ITV’s content on demand,” Pembroke predicted.

Sony estimates that there are about 4 million PS3 consoles in the UK and that about 80 per cent of owners are connected to its broadband-enabled service.

Alan Duncan, the marketing director for PlayStation in the UK, said ITV and Channel 4 could expect an incremental increase in traffic of about 10 per cent from users watching shows via their games consoles. He said the estimate came from monitoring traffic for about 20 other similar on-demand services already available via PS3 consoles across Europe, and the iPlayer in the UK.

Sarah Rose, director of commercial business development at Channel 4, said this was the first time the broadcaster had felt that a games console maker was ready to be a partner. “They are much bigger now and moving into the entertainment space, plus it sits well with our 16 to 34-year-old audience strengths,” Rose said.

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