ITV and mobile media company 3 have announced an exclusive deal to stream ITV1 - ITV's flagship channel - to 3's customers in the UK, a first for a terrestrial broadcaster in the country.
The groundbreaking deal will enable the 3.5 million customers on 3 to watch ITV1 and ITV Play - ITV's participation channel - live on their mobile phone. ITV1 is Britain's most popular commercial TV channel, playing all 300 of the top commercial programmes on TV this year As well as being the UK's first live streamed terrestrial mobile channels, it will also become the largest service of its kind in the UK with coverage of more than 89% of the UK population.
Available from this autumn, ITV has granted an exclusive 3G mobile licence to 3 for six months. This agreement is another in a series of TV firsts for 3. 3 was the first UK operator to bring TV content to mobile, the first to stream live TV, the first to stream a live music gig to mobile and the first operator to launch its own made-for-mobile TV channels.
Evidence from current mobile TV services indicates that mobile TV viewing is complementary to traditional viewing, with many people catching up whilst travelling, or when they aren't near a TV, creating a unique broadcast television experience on the move. Full details of the channel packages will be announced nearer the time of launch.
Charles Allen, outgoing chief executive of ITV said: "We are delighted that we are teaming up with 3 to be the first terrestrial broadcaster in the UK to launch this kind of service. This is a bold new service from ITV and 3 which makes the ambition of fully streamed mobile TV a reality. Today is a real milestone in the development of TV on the go and with ITV's new broadband channel coming soon, viewers will be able to access ITV's great content wherever, whenever, and however they choose."
To which Bob Fuller, chief executive of 3 added: "This partnership with ITV is a natural next step for 3 as we continue to build a complete mobile platform that meets all of our customers' communication and entertainment needs on the move. It offers the first true mainstream experience of mobile television and adds a new dimension to the traditional way our customers watch television. 3 and ITV have demonstrated clearly how an innovative approach to television can create new services and commercial models, which is an exciting prospect for broadcasters, advertisers and audiences."