EXCLUSIVE: British commercial broadcaster ITV is moving into boxsets as it repositions its pay-TV channel Encore into a digital service.
The network is closing the linear Encore channel, which launched in June 2014, but will keep the brand going as video-on-demand service. Encore, which was previously exclusive to Sky, will now be offered to other pay-TV platforms including cable operator Virgin Media.
Since its launch, ITV Encore has commissioned a range of high-end edgy dramas including Harlots (pictured), the prostitution period thriller produced by Alison Owen’s Monumental Pictures, which airs on Hulu in the US and is returning for a second series, and Rainmark Films’ Sean Bean-fronted The Frankenstein Chronicles.
It also co-produced Houdini & Doyle, the David Shore-exec produced drama that aired on Fox in the US, and aired Swedish noir thriller Jordskott.
The channel also runs a number of repeats from ITV’s main dramas including Victoria and crime procedural Paranoid.
The move comes as the broadcaster looks to bolster up its digital offerings; the company’s on-demand service ITV Hub grew viewing by over 40% thanks to the success of shows such as Love Island.
An ITV spokesman said: “ITV has decided that the Encore channel will come to an end next spring and from that point we will be focusing on Encore purely as a boxset brand.
“Our great dramas will continue to be available to Sky viewers, but this also gives ITV the opportunity to take Encore on to other platforms, as we continue to develop our pay and distribution business to drive value from our content, making our programmes available to more people on more platforms.”