TV Advertising: ITV boss says main focus is to grow digital advertising across ITVX

Carolyn McCall

Carolyn McCall (Source: ITV)

ITV’s chief executive officer Carolyn McCall has said the UK broadcaster is currently focusing on growing its digital advertising business and revenue for its AVOD platform ITVX, in a keynote session at The Future of TV Advertising Global in London. 

“Mass reach to a linear (audience) will still be an incredibly important thing to advertisers, but so will digital automated advertising,” explained McCall. “It’s important for us that we take our place in that digital revenue bucket, that marketers have to think about all the time.”

The ITV boss highlighted launch of its recent ad innovation projects such as the broadcaster’s VOD advertising platform Planet V which first launched in 2020. Scottish broadcaster STV andSky’s advertising arm, Sky Media recently joined Planet V for a trial period. The pair will use it for their on-demand content, with agencies and advertisers expected to be able to plan and buy campaigns for their portfolio of channels using the self-serve platform later this year.

In addition, ITV’s AdLabs advertising division developed the Automated Contextual Targeting (ACT) tool for advertisers in October. The newly-launched product provides insights into moods, objects and moments in programmes advertisers can use to tailor their campaigns.

The broadcaster also recently unveiled ITV’s DataMatch product which allows measurement of the impact of ITVX campaigns on sales, as well as two new ad measurement tools at the end of last month.

“There are so many products that we’ve launched that are going to keep us going relevant in time,” added McCall.

Commenting on the progress of the ITVX Premium service, McCall said the ad-free plan has approximately 1.5 million registered users. Though she said there is more work to do to see further growth across its premium service, ITV’s is currently prioritising the user and advertising experience.

“We’ve been very focused on those two things because we are a advertising leader. We pride ourselves on being very good with clients and agencies and listening to them and working with them,” she said.” We’ve done a lot of that, and tried to get the acrobats right on ITVX.  It’s not to say we won’t look at the subscription layer more, and how we develop that. We will do that. We’ve been very focused on that in this last year.”

ITV reported since launching ITVX last year, the streaming service has attracted more than 40 million registered users and recording over 2.7 billion streams. According to the pubcaster, 88% of viewers who watched a premier on ITVX went on to watch other content.

The ITV chief said ITVX’s digital advertising revenue is increasing significantly, reaching “double digit every year”.

“The more important thing for us is to have a really diverse side business,” she added. “The most important thing strategically for ITV, is to do everything we can on linear, but to really resource ITVX and to make sure that is getting as much digital revenue as it can.”


Speaking quickly on ITV’s FAST business, McCall said in the new year it will begin to take advertising across ITV’s Studios FAST operations.

“FAST is a part of us driving, loyalty, impact, engagement, because it’s quite niche,” she said. “It has done very well in the US and we’ve been learning from that actually. But I think at the moment, it will grow (in the UK.)

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