A £20 million upgrade of the ITV website was unveiled today – offering all of its channels streamed live over the internet, a ‘catch-up service’ and the chance to watch archive footage of favourite programmes.
The new ITV.com, to go live ‘within weeks’, will offer live streaming of channels, a 30-day catch-up service allowing viewers to watch programmes they missed, and the chance to watch classics from the ITV archive.
The archive footage on offer is likely to include hit shows such as Coronation Street, crime series such as Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Marple and Inspector Morse, classic dramas such as The Jewel In The Crown and comedies such as Rising Damp and On The Buses.
The service will also include made-for-broadband commissions in a section called Web Lives giving members of the public a chance to document their lives in a series of short episodes.
A network of ‘citizen correspondents’ will be encouraged to upload mobile or webcam clips, with the best contributions aired on ITV news bulletins on ITV1.
The service will also offer broadband versions of the classic game shows Blockbusters, Catchphrase, Countdown and Family Fortunes.
Michael Grade, Executive Chairman of ITV, said the broadcaster will have digitised around 20,000 hours of programmes by the end of this year.
He said: ‘Today we are combining the best of TV with the best of the web to create a service unrivalled by any other commercial broadcaster, anywhere in the world.
‘Some are already streaming their channels, some are providing catch-up and some building their archive, but ITV.com will provide all three.’
The unveiling of the service comes after final plans for a new service, the BBC iPlayer, providing programmes on demand were announced by the BBC Trust yesterday.
The BBC is hoping that its service, which will allow viewers to catch up on programmes for seven days on cable or online, will be up and running by November.
TV fans will also be able to watch programmes streamed live over the internet from their homes or on wireless laptops in locations such as cafes and airports.
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