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Future of TV Brand Strategy Marketing

How ITV plans to spend £45m marketing its streaming service

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By Hannah Bowler, Senior reporter

December 7, 2022 | 8 min read

ITV is about to embark on its biggest marketing campaign to date with a £45m push of its shiny new streamer ITVX, its chief marketing officer explains.

ITVX lands December 8

ITVX lands December 8

On December 8 ITVX will officially land with 10,000 hours of movies and shows and weekly drops of new original content. To give it the best chance of success, marketing chief Jane Stiller is giving ITVX a full funnel cross platform marketing campaign.

The estimated investment put into the launch and subsequent marketing of the service in Q4 comes at a steep £45m. That includes ITV's valuation of its first party media which it will be using to promote the service too. “It’s substantial, especially in a period of the year that is quite competitive [Q4],” Stiller adds. The World Cup and Christmas ad campaigns from retalers have put a significant demand on its inventory over the past month.

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Promoting ITVX is a major shift for ITV’s marketing team, who are used to promoting shows, not product marketing. “Before we would have spent a lot more money on showing people the content, now we are recognizing that we need to spend as much as our investment around landing the brand and the key propositions,” Stiller says.

The broadcaster gained some experience in streaming marketing when it launched BritBox in 2019. This was supplemented by hiring marketers from subscription businesses and retail who understood first party data.

Since ITVX is looking to reach new audience audiences and offer a new content proposition its marketing needed to feel different as well, Stiller says. “This is a very different brief, this is landing a product message and making sure that resonates with viewers that love ITV but also viewers that ITV isn’t top of their consideration. That is a really big shift for us.”

Stiller’s core focus is on marketing that influences people’s spontaneous consideration. She tells The Drum: “Although ITV is very much top of mind on when you switch on your linear TV it might not be quite as top of mind when you go to on demand services.”

In streaming marketing, it is thought the biggest drivers of consideration are having new shows and a big library of content. Therefore, ITV is pushing the messaging: ‘more new shows for free than anywhere else’ and 10,000 hours of content. These messages will be present in every part of ITV’s marketing plan.

Stiller’s campaign has four key parts. The first is dedicated to landing the product proposition. Working with creative agency Uncommon, ITV has released a set of hero ads featuring the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Macfadyen and John Boyega.

The ads don’t mention any titles on the service. Instead, Stiller explains: ”The purpose is to land top of mind awareness, the proposition, and making sure people see that ad and it sparks something to then take action and find out more.”

Other brand-building activity includes an interactive out of home billboard and a Metaverse stunt with Fortnite.

To then back up its claims about new shows and content library a clip-based piece of creative has been released with one-minute and 30-second cut downs. The plan is for the “complimentary” ads to hit the viewers in a succession to reinforce the messaging.

The third part of Stiller’s strategy is to market single shows. “What we’ve learned from the US is that content is still king, you need newness and big names that will bring in audiences,” she says.

Following launch, ITVX will have shows like A Spy Among Friends starring Damian Lewis, Nolly with Bonham Carter, Without Sin with Vicky McClure and a big natural history show with Stephen Fry. “We will be spending a lot of money on single shows,” Stiller explains. “Next year there be a constant drum beat of off-air campaigns for single shows.”

ITV has used econometric modeling to understand what each spot and media channel will achieve from both a consideration point of view and to know how many monthly active users the campaign will generate.

“The plan is numbers-driven. The bedrock of why we’ve chosen the things that we’ve done is based on our econometric modeling,” Stiller says. “It’s been very empirical, and numbers based which a lot of people don’t think of the broadcasters for doing.”

The fourth element of Stiller’s plan is using first party data, with its partner Essence, to tailor recommendations and overlay it with third party providers like Facebook and Google. Since ITV’s old catch-up service ITV Hub never had enough shows to be able to personalize content, Stiller says the use of first party data is a big shift for the broadcaster.

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“All of the capability building we’ve done over the past three years and the work with Essence has meant we are in a strong position to take that bank of 10,000 hours and make personalized recommendations at scale,” she says. ITV will then target viewers with ads on paid digital, through its own CRM and using its addressable tech Planet V.

ITV is looking to target a mainstream audience that is already streaming and viewers who are “warm to ITV, not ITV rejectors”. This is a cohort of over 20 million UK viewers that don’t necessarily skew young, Stiller explains: “It’s not all 18 years olds living in Shoreditch, it’s a middle ground”.

Stiller adds that ITV can reach most of those viewers with its owned channels and then layering on other media channels like paid social, influencers organic influencers and paid partnerships.

For more streaming analysis subscribe to the Future of TV newsletter here and check out the Future of TV hub.

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