ITV is forming a new division, ITV Interactive, to house all its online and interactive activities.
ITV Interactive will incorporate Carlton and Granada’s existing programme-related online sites, such as Coronation Street, Cold Feet and Crossroads, and ITV sites including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, ITV Football and ITV Weather. According to ITV, together the sites generate 25 million page impressions each month.
The first stage of ITV Interactive’s operations, the launch of ITV.com, is planned to coincide with the launch of ITV’s Autumn schedule. ITV.com will be the online umbrella brand for all ITV programmes.
With “extensive cross-promotion” planned on ITV’s channels, which offer exposure to 50 million viewers each week, ITV.com is expected to become one of the top ten entertainment sites in the UK.
ITV Interactive, which will also supply content to the newly formed ITV Digital (formerly onDigital), will be headed by Paul Greensmith, who has been appointed ITV director of interactivity. Greensmith, currently chief operating officer of Carlton Interactive, will assume responsibility for all ITV Interactive’s operations and report to ITV chief executive Stuart Prebble.
“ITV is well placed to lead the market in commercial, mass market interactive extensions to its programming,” says Greensmith. “ITV has the creativity, the brands, the platform and the viewers to make the leap to mass market entertainment through digital media.”
A number of online sites will launch later this year, including sites for Soapstars, Pop Idol and new daytime drama Night and Day. ITV2 will launch an interactive version of Millionaire? this autumn.