ITV ploughs £15m into new male-orientated ITV4

LONDON – ITV is investing a minimum of £15m on new male-orientated channel ITV4 and is planning to buy US imports to steal viewers from terrestrial rivals.

The free-to-air channel, to be launched on Sky, Freeview and cable from autumn, will offer US imports to compete with Channel 4, Five and Sky One.

Mick Desmond, chief executive of ITV, said: "It's the first time we can compete head to head with channels using a high proportion of US acquisitions like Sky One, Channel 4 and Five."

It is unclear what series the network will be targeting, but popular reality shows similar to Sylvestor Stallone's boxing contest 'The Contender' would fit ITV4's target audience.

Speaking at the Future of Broadcasting Conference in London, Desmond revealed ITV4 will show various sports tournaments, splitting coverage between ITV1 and ITV4 in much the same way as reality series such as ITV1's 'Celebrity Love Island' does with ITV2's 'Celebrity Love Island: Aftersun'. 

The network is also commissioning a small number original shows and may offer adult entertainment during its late-night schedules.

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