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ITV Player on the up, but traditional TV platforms see drop in viewers

ITV RESULTS | The number of programme requests on the ITV Player was up 26% in 2014, with the catch-up TV service having 8 million registered users, according to ITV's latest financial results, published today.

ITV says that the service is now available on over 20 platforms having launched on a number of new platforms in 2014, including Windows Phone 8, Sky Go, Now TV, Roku and Amazon Kindle Fire. It will continue to explore options for targeted advertising on the service, gaining insights from its registered users. It has promised to improve the "quality and distribution" of ITV Player in the future.

On traditional TV platforms, ITV saw a drop in audiences of 5% across its family of channels, with ITV2 feeling the pinch following the launch of ITVBe. But revenues increased, with services such as ITVBe delivering the highly sought after young female audience for advertisers with adjusted profit before tax reaching £712 million during the last financial year.

The broadcaster confirmed it would continue to look at its options for monetising content in the coming year and building on pay TV partnerships, which in 2014 saw ITV Encore launch on Sky's linear and on-demand platforms as part of a four year deal with Sky. ITV confirmed a one-year extension of its deal with Virgin Media in 2014 for its pay HD channels including ITV2 HD, which was extended to include ITVBe HD.

ITV confirmed it would continue to lobby for pay TV providers to pay for content from ITV's main channel. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is currently consulting on the matter, would could see the current situation, which sees ITV paying Sky for carriage of its main channel being reversed.

Revenues from its Freeview multiplex business SDN stayed flat at £71 million. ITV said that gains in revenue from the introduction of a 13th stream in 2013 was offset by "lower renewal fees" for carriage on the existing videostreams, a trend it says is "likely to continue", as carriage costs on Freeview continue to decline from their peak nearly ten years ago.

And on the day some ITV staff have walked out on strike action over pay, ITV confirmed it had become a living wage accredited employer, the first broadcaster to do so.


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