ITV to launch pay-TV drama channel, Encore

ITV is launching a new pay channel dedicated to drama in a bid to move away from its reliance on traditional TV advertising.

The broadcaster, buoyed by the success of hit shows including Broadchurch and Downton Abbey, is setting up ITV Encore which will be available to Sky subscribers.

It is described as being ‘home to some of ITV’s most successful drama series of recent years’ as well as ‘original commissions’ with ‘big name’ stars.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said the broadcaster wanted to ‘become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels’.

He said: “ITV’s brilliant dramas contributed to a fantastic on-screen performance last year – we had three out of the top five dramas in 2013, which helped us increase our share of viewing on the main channel for the first time in a decade.

“The time is absolutely right to build on our successful partnership with Sky with the launch of ITV Encore, which will be an important part of ITV’s family of channels, and will complement ITV3, home to our long-running, classic drama series.

“ITV Encore is right in line with our strategy of growing non-advertising revenues while at the same time creating even greater opportunities to showcase new drama.”