Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

Londoners to get ITV news on-demand

By Kate Bulkley

The Guardian

Tuesday December 21, 2004

ITV's London news programme will be available on demand, 24 hours a day to subscribers of Video Network's Home Choice TV service in the capital from mid-January 2005.

The new interactive service will be a first for ITV, and the six-month trail will make all of London Tonight's 6pm newscasts and daily bulletins available to Home Choice subscribers from January 11.

ITV London Tonight becomes available on-demand on Home Choice from January

ITV London Tonight becomes available on-demand on Home Choice from January

Video Networks, which was on the brink of financial collapse in 2002, relaunched in May 2004 under new management and now boasts an estimated 15,000 subscribers, according to an industry source. Subscribers to the telephone line-delivered TV service will be able to access the ITV news content as part of their basic subscription packages, which begin at 27.50 a month.

"We know that people are getting home while we're on air, so even though we have a lot of viewers at 6pm wouldn't it be nice to be able to see the entire programme at, say, 7.30pm or even later?" said Stuart Thomas, the editor of ITV London Tonight.

The interactive service will also archive news programmes under subject headings such as the 2012 London Olympic bid.

"London Tonight is public service broadcasting," he said. "This trial with Video Networks means people will have more opportunity to see what we are producing."

Mr.Thomas admitted the new interactive service would not produce any new revenues for ITV because it will not include adverts or sponsorship, but these might be added as the audience for Home Choice grows.

Video Networks hopes the new ITV news service will help attract more subscribers to its service. The company has been running a similar interactive news service with the BBC for the last 18 months. Hugh Williams, the executive director of programming at Video Networks, said that a third of its subscribers use the service once a week.


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