CITV to end linear broadcast with move to ITVX

Published on: 13th March 2023

Jon Chambers, director of Investment at Generation Media, has shed some light on what the ITVX move means for the UK’s linear marketing landscape.

ITV has announced that the CITV channel will cease broadcasting after 31st August 2023. According to Generation Media’s director of Investment, Jon Chambers, this makes it the second broadcaster, after Disney, to abandon linear TV as a means of delivering children’s content.

The broadcaster has cited viewing data from BARB  showing that while the average amount of broadcast TV minutes of kids TV channels watched by 4-15 year olds per week has declined by -62% since 2019, “unmatched” viewing has risen by +30% in the same period, “demonstrating the streaming first trend in kids viewing.”

Launching in July, ITV’s new ITVX Kids platform will become the new home of over 100 shows for kids from pre-school age. New episodes of The Rubbish World of Dave Spud are commissioned for broadcast in 2024 and will be premiered on ITVX, while the animated series of Mr Bean, Teletubbies Let’s Go, Sooty and Bob The Builder will also be among those titles moving over. A range of new shows will also complement existing favourites including Lloyd of the Flies, Lily’s Driftwood Bay, Claude, Mumfie and Mystery Lane.

“We’re really excited to launch this dedicated destination for kids on ITVX, which will be home to a wealth of content including new series, recognisable brands and existing favourites for a range of ages, all in one child-safe area, with editorial curation to guide viewing,” said Craig Morris, managing editor of ITVX. “The wealth of content will be available to stream for free, with the option for parents to choose ad free viewing, through a subscription to ITVX Premium.”

Generation Media has reacted swiftly to the news, and says it is already in discussions with ITV regarding exclusive opportunities for its client partners on CITVX.

In a statement sent to clients, Jon Chambers wrote: “The move will have significant implications on trading in the UK Linear landscape for children’s audiences, especially when considered in conjunction with the question over the sales of WarnerMedia channels (Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Cartoonito) moving forward. The CITV family accounted for around 15% of children’s equivalent impacts in 2022. The removal of these will therefore increase Sky Media’s share of market to over 90%. Sky Media is also one of the parties currently responding to the WarnerMedia tender, meaning that by Q4 of this year Sky Media could be in control of 100% of available impacts on children’s commercial channels in the UK. Being one of Sky Media’s largest independent trading partners, however, this is a scenario we are well equipped to deal with.”

ITV has said it will maintain the LittleBe pre-school segment on ITVBe and will offer some children’s content in the early mornings on ITV2 from September, with strong cross promotion to ITVX.

Generation Media estimates TV’s share of ad spend for Toys & Games advertisers in 2022 to be around 45%, and says this was set to decline further in 2023 – irrespective of ITV’s news – as brands find more meaningful and effective ways to use digital media platforms and bridge the coverage gap that has been created by the decline in linear TV viewing. This key topic will be the core focus of the agency’s annual KidsCon conference.


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