UK commercial broadcaster ITV has signed a pay-TV deal with British Sky Broadcasting to launch HD versions of its successful digital channels as a subscription service on the Sky platform. The deal will see ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD, and ITV4 HD launch as part of Sky+HD’s subscription package of channels in the autumn. The channels will be available to all homes subscribing to a Sky+HD subscription, of which there are more than 2.9 million. ITV2 HD will launch in October for the start of The Xtra Factor, with ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD launching shortly after. ITV CEO Adam Crozier said building new revenue streams by exploiting its content across multiple platforms was a key part of the new ITV Transformation Plan. Sky chief operating officer Mike Darcey said it welcomed ITV’s move to embrace pay TV to satisfy the demands of HD customers.

Meanwhile, ITV has reported interim EBITDA before exceptional items of GBP 165 million, up from GBP 46 million a year earlier, with net advertising revenue up 18 percent year-on-year from GBP 615 million in H1 2009 to GBP 728 million in H1 2010, compared to overall TV ad market growth of 15 percent. ITV has reduced its net debt from GBP 612 million to GBP 437 million over the six months. Group revenue was GBP 987 million, up from GBP 909 million a year earlier. ITV’s online revenues, excluding Friends Reunited, was up 20 percent to GBP 12 million, from GBP 10 million in H1 2009. Average unique users were up 4 percent over the first half at 9.1 million and cumulative video views were down by 14 percent at 100 million.

ITV has also confirmed the launch of ITV1+1 in Q1 2011 and unveiled its new 5-year Transformation Plan. The plan will focus on four key priorities: creating a new lean, dynamic and fit for purpose organisation; maximising audience and revenue share from existing free-to-air broadcast business; driving new revenue streams by exploiting ITV content across multiple platforms, free and pay; and building a strong international content business. Delivery the Transformation Plan will require targeted investment and strong financial discipline. ITV will hold the ITV1 network programme budget (NPB) below GBP 800 million in 2011 and 2012. It has allocated an investment fund of GBP 75 million, excluding the ITV1 NPB, for operating investments online, in content and in its digital channels over the next three years.