How ITV drove a 129% streaming subscription uplift

While the wider sector faltered following a post-Covid viewership crunch, ITV dug deep to invest £165m in the launch of streaming service ITVX.

ITVX Entertainment MW Awards 2023
Source: ITV

Following a lockdown boom, the streaming landscape was in flux by 2022. Amid a saturated market of fierce competitors, the cost of living crisis was forcing consumers to consider cancelling their subscriptions altogether.

Despite the challenges, ITV knew failing to act posed a far greater threat. The broadcaster’s existing catch-up-style service ITV Hub was facing declining consideration as viewers began to embrace streaming as a destination in its own right.

Sensing the need for reinvention, the team invested in detailed research to refine the launch strategy and identify a target market of 23 million people for new streaming service ITVX.

The marketers began hosting cross-functional workshops to help secure sign-off for the campaign’s £165m budget. The team decided to position ITVX as the UK’s freshest streaming service and sought to create a distinct brand identity, opting for ‘X’ in the name to help the proposition stand out.

To put streaming on a level footing with broadcasting, ITV embarked on a companywide rebrand. As a result, there is no longer a broadcasting channel with the same name as the parent brand. The marketers also opted for a cheeky tone of voice to subvert the streaming sector’s preference for serious, content-focused comms.

The strategy paid off. Subscriptions to ITVX rose 129% compared to the ITV Hub, with customer loyalty up 8.4%. According to econometric modelling, the launch marketing spend was 12% more efficient at driving consumption versus benchmark stats, delivering a 100% increase in marketing contribution to total streaming hours compared to pre-launch.

Furthermore, 100% of employees surveyed watched ITVX more than its predecessor, results which helped ITV win the 2023 Marketing Week Award for Sport, Gaming and Entertainment.