ITV launches gaming network on Freeview

MUMBAI: UK terrestrial ITV launched its newest digital channel, the interactive gaming network ITV Play, on Freeview, with programming to include the first show spawned from the broadcaster's purchase of the Friends Reunited website.

The channel airs daily from noon to 4 a.m. on Freeview, and is also available to be streamed live on ITV Play launched at the end of March in the after-midnight slots on ITV1 and ITV2. The channel will be ITV's first non-advertising-funded channel.

Programming in the channel line-up includes The Mint, currently also airing on ITV1, which offers up cash prizes for a range of challenges; and This Morning Puzzle Book, produced by the This Morning team from Manchester.

Friends Reunited - The School Run builds on the interest in nostalgia that is at the heart of the Friends Reunited website, which ITV bought last December. Based on a huge interactive board game, the show brings classmates together to test their knowledge of facts and trivia from a particular year.

Also, all interactive programming, games and quizzes on ITV's family of conventional TV channels, online and mobile will fall under the ITV Play banner, including the new Bullseye game, only available on

The venture is part of ITV's larger strategy to create new revenue streams and become a viable multi-channel offering. It aims to invest more in the participation TV sector to help build a long-term sustainable business by using its programme brands to create interactive formats.

ITV Play controller William van Rest said, "ITV has a great heritage in producing the biggest and best live, interactive programmes and this is exactly what we want to do with ITV Play."

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