Broadcaster aims to compete with rivals

LONDON — ITV is investing £20 million ($40 million) in a new broadband service that aims to compete with rivals Channel 4 and the BBC.

The initiative, which comes 24 hours after the greenlight for the BBC’s iPlayer on-demand service, will feature live streaming, catch-up ability, archive and exclusive content.

ITV topper Michael Grade said ITV.com would “create a service unrivaled by any other commercial broadcaster, anywhere in the world.”

ITV itself has some catching up to do. Channel 4 bowed its on-demand initiative last year, and the BBC iPlayer would already be up and running had it not been forced to jump through several regulatory hoops.

But as Blighty’s biggest commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV is arguably uniquely placed to drive maximum value from the Internet.

Other features of ITV.com include exclusive behind-the-scenes content, dedicated broadband commissions, user-generated content and news services plus broadband games.

A potentially intriguing feature of the service is “Web Lives,” a documentary collaboration with U.K. helmer Roger Graef, who runs the Films of Record indie that will make three-minute shorts.

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