ITV2 is the home of entertainment for young people. From award-winning commissions to American acquisitions, our schedules aim to deliver quality entertainment to a young 16-34 audience.
Commissions are really important to ITV2. They can say so much, drive reputation and define the tone of the channel. Our needs are really for 9pm and 10pm with very limited opportunity pre-watershed. At 9pm we are primarily looking for hours and at 10pm we have had a lot of success with programmes in 45' slots but we can accommodate half hours too. We also have limited opportunities for one-offs and seasons: we recently curated a Fresh season, giving over four slots to talent and some productions companies new to television. And we celebrated Back To The Future Day on the 21st October 2015, by broadcasting all three films and sandwiching in the middle, a specially commissioned Back T’Future Tribute Special hosted by Keith Lemon. The all time share for 16-34s was 10.2%, making it the highest ever all time share for 16-34s on any digital channel.
When it comes to genres, it feels like formatted entertainment shows or access shows sit well at 9pm. And importantly we do not have enough of them. These shows almost definitely need to be hours. And at this time, given the other commissions on the channel, closed episode series would be enormously helpful, but not critical; formatted shows that take you to the same place every week but that deliver a different cast, or shows that on the surface are familiar environments but have real emotional depth, would absolutely be considered for this slot. As would gameshows.
Please think returning series and factual entertainment as well as entertainment. A good example of this kind of show is Ibiza Weekender. At 10pm multichannel really can come into its own. There's a much bigger available audience, so shows need to be much noisier, brighter and funny. The range of opportunity here is at its biggest, from funny clip shows to comic-led or talent-led pieces and anything in-between that can subvert and surprise. The Keith Lemon Sketch Show was a big hit for us, and was our first sketch show for a while; talent was at the heart of it, as well as a lot of blood, sweat and tears on behalf of the entire production team.
In a concerted strategy to make ITV2 a fully rounded entertainment channel, we are now actively commissioning scripted comedy and drama. Clearly funny is important here, as well as distinctive, as well as talent. ITV2 shows feel bold and bright. Big name talent is not a pre-requisite here but might help around the edges. Our standout half-hour comedy success here is Plebs, about the hapless lives of a group of boys who arrive from the suburbs to the bright lights of the big city, but... it is Ancient Rome, 25 BC. This is now in its third series and has garnered critical acclaim, awards and ratings. We are looking for more comedy and aim to develop and pilot ideas before we go to series.
In terms of ITV talent, we are really proud that we have a well-established and highly regarded roster but equally it is incredibly rewarding to grow and nurture our own talent. We actively want to encourage a mix of new and more established talent and presenters and feel there is still room to add to the incredibly impressive roster of clever, funny and distinctive people that already populate the channel.
Uniquely we are now the only channel attached to a bigger channel that carries switchover shows. These are a perfect opportunity to carry audience over, give opportunities to new presenting talent and have live shows in peak time. It's important to appreciate here that this means a lot of slots across the year are taken up by these terrific shows and that because the majority of them are live, our desire for live shows feels satiated by these.
ITV2 is the number one digital channel. When we work at our best we are serving a broad, mainstream and young group of viewers who want to be thoroughly entertained. We want to give our audience a little of what they are expecting, take them somewhere familiar, but also surprise them with a little of what they didn’t even know they wanted, and do all of this with wit and intelligence.
Remember there is no prescription. Most importantly surprise us; you can pitch something that we didn't know we were looking for... And if past decisions are anything to go by, you stand a strong chance of getting your idea commissioned. Passion, vision and an attitude with a sense of purpose will make your ideas stand out. This is ITV2, we are broad, young and have our tongue firmly in our cheek. We don't take ourselves too seriously.
ITV3 is the home of quality British drama. We have recently experimented with buying some foreign language drama too. The opportunity for original commissions is limited here.
ITV4 is the home of free-to-air sport, sports related shows and quality entertainment programmes aimed firmly and squarely at men but importantly that don’t have a keep-out sign for women. A number of sporting events have been acquired so that ITV4 can give its viewers a more consistent offering across the year. These include the French Open, which we share with ITV, coverage of TT and Tour de France.
Alongside this we have had success with timely sports programmes like a season of docs to celebrate Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday, a doc on Lionel Messi, and one about Kevin Pietersen. We are always on the lookout for one-offs and timely pegs on which to hang them off.
We can commission co-pros here, like Shed and Buried. And The Big Fish Off did very good business here too.
We are keen to commission for ITV4 and in the first wave the shows must feel rooted in the world of sport. In what genre we are completely open. They can be docs, factual, or entertainment shows. There are no particular slots as we have to work around our live sport coverage, but generally post watershed. We commissioned a series of sporting biographies called Sports Life Stories chronicling the lives of many of our British sporting high-achievers like Dame Kelly Holmes, Lawrence Dallaglio, Barry McGuigan and Gareth Thomas, which was then repeated on ITV. Last year we transmitted a sports doc series with some social history thrown in called World Of Sport which took a romp through the sporting highlights of a decade per show. There is still plenty of scope and opportunity here but the idea must be rooted in sport.
CITV is the number one commercial children's channel. We commission and acquire a range of programmes aimed at children up until the age of about 11. When commissioning we do not tend to generally fully fund so co-pros are completely the norm here. We are looking to focus on shows for 4-9 year olds and live action and animation. It would be fantastic if we could put original, funny stuff on CITV; that would be a bold ambition fulfilled if that happened. And we have taken the first step with Horrible Science. Other stuff commissioned here includes Bear Grylls Survival School which will air in 2016.
ITV Encore is a new channel with a schedule dedicated to drama, featuring the best of contemporary British drama series from ITV. Our first original commission is Frankenstein Chronicles, on air November 2015, and there will be opportunities here to broadcast distinctive, original drama right for a sophisticated drama viewer; approximately two-three series a year in short and longer runs.
ITVBe is a new channel, dedicated to lifestyle and entertainment programming from the UK and US, featuring real lives, and real people. It is the exclusive home of TOWIE, as well as US content, such as the Real Housewives franchise. Other original British commissions include The Real Housewives of Cheshire, in its second series; Dinner Dates; Life on Marbs; and a dating show, When Do You Get Off. The target audience here is young mums. Other areas we are currently exploring are the worlds of makeover, fashion and features. We also commission shorts like Be Beautiful.
How to submit an idea
Please refer to the commissioning page of the genre you are proposing and use the contact details provided there.