Relaunch Next Week, Rights Issues Curtail Some Programming

It’s been a long time coming. Now in UK, ITV’s relaunched will finally go live next Tuesday in a staged roll-out due to be completed by July 31, Guardian reports. The launch date for the UK commercial TV leader’s new offering — which will include 30-day, web-based VOD catch-up for TV shows, live streams for ITV’s channels and more — had slipped from March to May to “summer”, but a new genre of programming will now be added to the site every Tuesday, beginning with soaps like Coronation Street, until the completion date.

But the new will not be as fully featured as previously thought. Although the broadcaster promised live streams of each of its four main channels, Guardian said failure to strike agreements with program rightsholders would limit streaming for ITV4, which is top-heavy with US shows, while Formula One racing will be unavailable on the main ITV1 stream and even the breakfast magazine show GMTV will be off-limits (GMTV last month launched its own web TV service in a notable display of going-it-alone). In its place, ITV will stream a highlights package.

ITV has previously used plenty of bravado to hail the forthcoming website “the most comprehensive commercial website offered by any major broadcaster in the world”, but time will tell. Guardian quoted one ad buying exec as saying ITV’s prices for advertising on the service were too high while Screen Digest analyst Arash Amel suggested the broadcaster’s demographic was too old to use the site in significant numbers.