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ITV sets its sights on youth-skewing factual programming

Paul Mortimer, ITV’s head of digital channels and acquisitions, spoke at the Creative Cities Convention today (April 22) where he announced his new mandate to commission scripted titles and factual ...
April 22, 2021

Paul Mortimer, ITV’s head of digital channels and acquisitions, spoke at the Creative Cities Convention today (April 22) where he announced his new mandate to commission scripted titles and factual shows for ITV2 and ITV Hub that appeal to young audiences — specifically, those who already do a large proportion of their viewing on demand.

ITV will increasingly serve content to this audience in whatever way they want to access it, often premiering content on ITV Hub before making it available via the ITV2/ITVBe/CITV channels.

As part of this mandate ITV2 will be moving into factual programming.

“One of the reasons we feel with ITV2 we can move into factual is you don’t need to have a line up of programs that all share the same DNA, because the experience of going into a space like ITV Hub is one of exploration for the viewer… so you go in and search, it’s not down to what the scheduler thinks you should be watching,” Mortimer (pictured) explained. “We’re doing it because we have the creative freedom to, but also in catering to the audiences’ current tastes. We know that what the streamers have been providing, what YouTube provides, is a bit of everything, and in that the trick for us will be to also offer factual programming that deals with subjects that include and appeal to a younger audience.”

Mortimer further explained that he is working Sue Murphy, head of factual entertainment at ITV and her team, to develop the new commissioning strategy.

“It’s an exciting time to be commissioning brand new, younger-skewing factual for ITV2 and Hub. A great opportunity for us and for producers to find compelling stories that really matter to younger, light audiences,” Murphy added. “We want to encourage bold and innovative approaches to factual storytelling to satisfy the appetite for dramatic and visceral documentary.”

Mortimer also revealed that the team is looking at a true crime anthology series for this fall, with the spotlight on online crime, saying “there are some fascinating stories that we have got or are seeking access to. We are looking to tell fresh and interesting stories not least as a means of raising a warning flag for younger audiences to some of the things that can happen in this space.”

The executive heads up commissioning for ITV Hub and for ITV’s younger skewing brands, ITV2, ITVBe and CITV, reporting to both Rufus Radcliffe, managing director of the on demand business unit, and Rosemary Newell, content director for broadcast and on demand divisions, under Kevin Lygo, managing director of media and entertainment.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.

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