In the next few months, ITV’s bumper deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution will come into effect, given them first window rights to both Family Guy and Bordertown (as well as repeat rights to American Dad and The Cleveland Show).
One question that has been lingering about the deal is whether or not episodes from the various Seth MacFarlane series would made available for on-demand viewing via the ITV Player. That is due in no small part to the well publicised security dispute between Fox and the BBC which prevented them from putting Family Guy (or any Fox distributed show) on the iPlayer.
TVWise can now reveal that ITV’s deal with the studio does give them the rights to put episodes up on catch-up service ITV Player. “Catch up is really important for our strategy. I think we’d not be living in the 21st century if we expected viewers just to rely on the linear broadcast”, said ITV’s Head of Acquired Series Sasha Breslau. “Within the frame work of the rights package that we’ve acquired, catch up is absolutely pre-eminent among them”.
That being said, the vast amount of content that ITV’s deal covers makes putting all of it on ITV Player somewhat impractical. “We’re not going to be able to have everything up on ITV Player all of the time, but yes we’re going to be making catch up available for brand new episodes of Family Guy immediately after the ITV2 linear transmission”.
As for the security issues that prevented the BBC from making Family Guy available on iPlayer, ITV has given assurances to the studio that has alleviated any major concerns. [Online security] is always a concern, but we’re working really closely with Fox to make sure everything is as secure as it can be”, Breslau tells TVWise.
While an exact launch date has yet to be set, Family Guy is expected to launch on ITV later this year with Bordertown following in 2016.