ITV faces ‘HS2-size’ challenge as it looks to IP migration

UK broadcaster ITV faces an ‘HS2-scale’ challenge in migrating to an IP-based distribution model with many millions of viewers watching concurrent streams, according to ITV director of engineering Mark Ison.

Speaking to DTVE, the ITV exec said that the company is “working on the assumption that it will need a IP distribution system to scale  whatever it is, whether it is 30 million concurrent viewers or more.” 

Ison noted that the project would be “a massive challenge for not just us, but the industry as a whole including the broadband network providers and all the partners in between.”

However, he said, ITV’s “preparation really is starting to look at that and we’ve been doing that probably for a couple of years”.

Mark Ison

The development comes following the successful launch of the broadcaster’s integrated AVOD and SVOD streaming service ITVX at the end of 2022.

ITVX is the leading streaming service in the UK to offer viewers access to free content with ads and ad-free paid subscription, all in one place, with paying subscribers also having access to BritBox UK. The streaming platform surpassed one billions streams on April 9, within four months since its launch.

In its latest earnings report, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall reported streaming hours on ITVX were up to 737 million, as were monthly active users at 12.5 million.

As part of its transition from ITV Hub, which was replaced with ITVX, Ison said the company is always looking at ways to improve and enhance the viewer experience and navigation experience.

“There has been a lot of push to focus on the quality of our video streams. It was already a focus anyway, but we had a lot of constructive feedback from internal sources mostly, but naturally, there has always been plenty of Twitter feedback, which we have taken on board and acted upon where it is appropriate to do so.”

He said, “People come for the content, but ultimately the product is the delivery of that content. It isn’t the products that sits around it or the price point. It all comes down to making sure that we’re getting the right content on the right cadence.”

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