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ITV Encore to go on-demand only

ITV is to close its linear pay TV channel ITV Encore in spring 2018.

The channel showcased drama series and has been exclusive to Sky and Now TV.

A new on-demand version of the service will be launched and will either be available via various pay TV platforms or offered direct to consumer, as some of ITV's on-demand service ITV Hub is ready.

ITV Encore was ITV's first venture in to a pay TV only service since the disastrous end to digital terrestrial TV service ITV Digital in 2002.

Media outlet Deadline was the first to report the development, who confirmed that ITV will continue to offer Sky viewers access to its dramas as part of Sky's on-demand offering.

Earlier this year a516digital reported how changes to legislation affecting ITV's right to charge platform operators for carriage of its channels would potentially affect the future of services such as ITV Encore, with ITV taking a more aggressive stance over deals with third parties to maximise income from its content. Incidently, because Sky is increasingly moving towards online distribution of services (it is planning to launch a sat-free version of its SkyQ service next year), it starts to come under the same legal area as Virgin Media, which as a cable operator, ITV can demand extra cash from for carriage.

In the last few days it has been reported by newspapers that there is expected to be a showdown between ITV and Virgin Media over channel carriage costs early in the new year. Any deal between the two might include the new on-demand Encore service.