Within the next six months, British broadcasting conglomerate ITV is planning to launch the U.K.’s first free-to-air kids channel designed especially for the Freeview digital cable platform. The new channel will cherrypick liberally from the lineup of shows currently airing on sisternet CiTV, but head of children’s TV Estelle Hughes should be scouting for both commissions and acquisitions at MIPCOM to establish some more exclusive on-air landmarks for the Freeview channel.
The diginet’s schedule will likely cater to preschoolers and the six to 11 set, featuring a broad range of programming that runs the genre gamut from animation and live-action dramas, to magazines and factual shows.
ITV’s new venture will share the digital airspace on Freeview with two other dedicated children’s channels – Cbeebies and CBBC – as well as competing with Five’s Milkshake block.
To receive Freeview, which has been available in the U.K. for two years, consumers purchase a US$100 encoder box that gives them access to 30 channels without the hassle of paying a monthly fee. The BBC co-owns the digital platform along with BSkyB and Crown Castle International.