UK Broadcaster, ITV, in Deal to Launch its ITV Player Broadband VOD Service on Sony PlayStation 3

--ITV, TalkbackThames Launch Exclusive "X Factor" Trailers on Facebook

UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, said Wednesday that it has signed a deal with Sony to make its online catch-up service, the ITV Player, available on Internet-connected PlayStation 3 games consoles by the end of the year (note: Sony on Tuesday also announced similar deals with Germany's Animax, Holland's NOS, Spain's TV3, Finland's YLE and Australia's Seven). According to ITV, the deal--which it bills as the first of its kind with a UK commercial broadcaster (note: the non-commercial BBC iPlayer broadband VOD service is also available on the PS3)--is part of a broader strategy that will see it rolling out the ITV Player on a range of platforms beyond its own Web site, including connected TV's and mobiles, in addition to games consoles (note: the service is scheduled to launch on the UK's free-to-air satellite service, Freesat, this fall). ITV says that, under the terms of its deal with Sony, STV, UTV and Channel TV will be able to "add their own equivalent services so they are also accessible from the PS3 platform on a similar basis to ITV Player."

ITV says that the ITV Player on PS3 will be free and supported by pre-, mid- and post-roll video ads that the broadcaster will sell and serve itself. PS3 users will be prompted to implement a software update the first time they turn on their PS3 after the launch, at which point, ITV says, an icon will appear in the TV section of the main navigational menu. They will then be able to click through to the new PS3 ITV Player service. "Our viewers want the option to watch their favorite content when and where they choose so distributing the ITV Player, with our rich content, to platforms beyond itv.com will allow us to meet that demand," Fru Hazlitt, ITV's managing director of commercial and online, said in a prepared statement. "We're really excited that they will soon be able to access the ITV Player on-demand through the PS3 platform."

The ITV Player, which launched in July, 2007 on itv.com, allows viewers to access ITV programs for up to 30 days after their original broadcast. In 2009, ITV says, views of long- and short-form videos on itv.com, across all program genres, more than doubled year-on-year, reaching 200 million. ITV touts the player as offering brands "one of the UK's leading, measurable, online routes-to-market around high-quality content."

In other ITV news: The broadcaster is teaming with FremantleMedia-subsidiary, TalkbackThames Digital, to offer exclusive trailers for the show, "The X Factor," to the show's approximately 1.4 million fans on Facebook. The companies have also revamped the show's Web site (http://xfactor.itv.com) with interviews, highlights and mash-ups, and launched a free app for the Nokia Ovi that offers a range of show-related content, including games and karaoke. "Further deepening the 'X Factor' format within social media is an important part of our strategy, and this initiative with Facebook allows us to reach our fans in a compelling way," TalkbackThames Digital chief, Robert Marsh, said in a prepared statement. Added Facebook's head of international business development, Christian Hernandez: "'The X Factor' is the largest brand on TV using Facebook at the moment, and is a great example of how we can augment engagement with the show between broadcasts and even after the series has ended. Bringing this engagement to the Facebook audience adds the social benefits of fans being able to connect and share with the program and their friends in one space."

Region: 
UK/Ireland