ITV Viewers Grumble At First Paid Content Roll-Out

UK broadcaster ITV (LSE: ITV) has launched one of its first efforts on the way to charging for some digital content, an aim set by new CEO Adam Crozier.

Last week, it launched This Morning Food, an iOS app including recipes from the ITV1 daytime show, on iTunes Store.

But the app has been rated just 1/5 in reviews by users, who complain that, whilst the app is free to download, it includes only 15 free recipes and requires a £2.99 in-app payment to get the remaining ones, which are otherwise locked-off.

“After six months your upgraded app will contain 32 video guides and 75 recipes!,” according to ITV’s site.

“Never thought I would be scammed by This Morning,” wrote one reviewer. “Shouldn’t have been advertised on This Morning as a free app,” said another.

Part-free, part-paid is nothing new, of course; it is a model implemented by some of the world’s most successful businesses, mobile apps amongst them. And the app’s iTunes Store description states clearly the requirement of the further payment.

But the user reaction may indicate the growing pains ITV may have as it tries to extract payments from audiences who have been used to free, ad-funded programming from it since it was founded in 1955.

The fact the app requires part-payment hasn’t stopped ITV from offering it as an advertising vehicle as well, however. It is branded by Nivea, which, despite not being a food-related brand, has got a sponsored section within the app.