ITV is planning to launch a children’s channel on Sky Digital, Media Week can reveal.
Charles Allen, chief executive of ITV, last week told Media Week: “The one thing we will probably do is a children’s channel, which will be a joint venture.
“That will be in partnership with another major children’s provider – I don’t see us going in and providing a new channel.
It’s an over-populated market, so it’s more likely we’ll do that in partnership with someone.”
ITV already operates two digital brands – ITV News and ITV2 – as well as ITV1.
It is also preparing to launch ITV3 in the latter half of this year, which will be targeted at adults aged 35 years and over.
Plans for the new kiddie TV station represent the broadcaster’s first foray into the dedicated children’s television market.
But Matthew Wigham, associate television director at OMD, said it would be hard for a new channel on the children’s EPG to achieve stand-out.
“It’s fine if it adds to the audience in the kid’s market, but there’s so much competition there,” Wigham said.
“We wouldn’t want to see ITV funnel too much funding away from its core channels.”
The Sky Digital electronic programming guide currently carries 19 children’s channels brands including Turner’s Cartoon Network, Toonami and Boomerang and the Disney, Fox and Nickelodeon channels.
In terms of viewing, the sector is currently dominated by the BBC’s children’s channels CBBC and Cbeebies, and the Turner channels.