Video on demand

There are a host of different VOD services from the UK broadcasters, all brimming with opportunities for advertisers. Here, you’ll find an overview of the key players and their on-demand services by platform.

Key points

  • Broadcasters have invested heavily in ensuring that viewers can get VOD content on a huge number of devices and platforms, from TV connected TV sets, set-top boxes and apps, to games consoles, mobiles and of course, bespoke TV company websites.
  • The major Broadcaster VOD services in the UK are: All 4, ITV Hub, Now TV, Sky Go, Sky On Demand, UKTV Play and Virgin TV Anywhere. All of these are trusted brands.
  • Viewers can now get pretty much all the catch-up programming they could ever want, when they want it and on a device of their choosing.

All 4

All 4 is the online destination presenting all of Channel 4’s linear channels, digital content and services in one place. The website is divided into three intuitive sections:

  • On Demand: Catch up, shorts and programme guides
  • Now: The live broadcast stream or each of our channels
  • Next: What to watch out for next and premieres
  • The on-demand service has particular appeal for young audiences and reaches over a third of 16-34 year olds every month. The website currently has over 11 million registered users.

The service is available across most platforms: web, TV, Games consoles, mobile and subscription free services such as Freesat.

ITV player

The ITV Hub is the online destination for all its TV channels and services: ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, CITV and ITVBe. The on-demand experience is a natural extension of the linear TV channels and presentation of ITV’s programme brands.

The service allows any user to watch content for free for up to 7 days from the date of broadcast. Free extended catch up is available to all users registered with ITV, for up to 30 days from the date of broadcast. The ITV Hub is now available on over 30 different platforms.

All catch-up content within ITV Player is supported by advertising. ITV offers both pre- and multiple mid-roll advertising spots around catch-up content, as well as a variety of interactive VOD ad formats.

ITV Media is responsible for selling the inventory which appears across all varieties of ITV Player.

In addition to on-demand content, viewers can also stream ITV’s suite of channels via the player.


NOW TV, powered by Sky, is a service from BSkyB that provides users with instant access to some of their most popular content. It’s been developed to allow the company to meet the needs and preferences of different customer segments more effectively, with a focus on commitment-free behaviour. Responding to the explosion of connected devices, it is currently available on PCs, laptops, Android and Apple iOS smart devices, Xbox 360 and YouView set-top boxes.

Broadcast spots featured in the linear broadcast stream of Sky Movies channels, will now also be seen by the NOW TV audience, accessing through PC or laptops. There is currently no advertising around or in on-demand content on NOW TV. However, as users require a log-in and Sky ID, at some point in the future, there may be the opportunity to introduce targeting into NOW TV, using Sky’s AdSmart technology.

Sky Go

Sky Go is BSkyB’s online TV service, which allows subscribers to watch a selection of live and on-demand content through various mobile devices, as well as PCs and Laptops. There are currently over 40 live channels available, encompassing Sky Sports (including Sky Sports F1), Sky Movies, Sky Atlantic and a selection of other Entertainment, Kids and Documentary channels.

Sky Go contains a range of TV shows available on demand, as well as an extensive movie catalogue. Whilst much of this content is included in a Sky subscription, there is also an option to rent movies from the Sky Store if you are using a PC or Laptop, or Sky Go can be subscribed to as a standalone product offering a range of packages.

Sky Media sells pre-roll and mid-roll advertising, plus sponsorship bumpers, on Sky Go around on-demand content, in addition to standard linear broadcast advertising on streamed channels. Advertisers are also able to buy VOD in the linear feed within live Premier League, Champions League, Capital One Cup, Championship and Golf Majors.

Sky On Demand

Sky’s broadband-delivered, on-demand service to Sky+ boxes offers content from its own channels, such as Sky1, Sky Movies and Sky Sports, as well as partner channels, including The History Channel, Nat Geo, BIO, Disney and Nickelodeon – all available to be watched at any time. The service is measured using SkyView and currently experiences around 11 million household programme views each month.

Sky Media sell pre, post and end roll slots, with the pre-roll allowing for up to a maximum of 4 advertisers totalling 90 seconds prior to the programme and is sold in conjunction with a post-roll slot of up to 3 minutes. Sponsorship bumpers are also available.


UKTV Play lets you watch shows from Dave, Yesterday, Really and Drama whilst on the hoof, on the bus or on the sofa. It offers viewers a wide variety of shows, including Crackanory, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Storage Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Haunted and Forbidden History.

UKTV’s stable of channels is represented by Channel 4 Sales to the advertiser and agency community who sell pre-roll and mid-roll advertising solutions, and a suite of interactive pre-roll formats.

Virgin TV Anywhere & TV VOD

Initially called Virgin Media Player and launched in mid-2010, TV Anywhere is Virgin Media’s web-based live streaming, catch-up and on-demand service, which complements the content found on their set top box. Virgin subscribers can view a selection of linear broadcast channels streamed to the service, in addition to some on-demand content.

Catch-up shows are available from the previous seven days from all UK free-to-air broadcasters and are organised by channel or genre. However even though catch up content is presented on Virgin’s Media Player, choosing to watch it takes the user to each broadcaster’s own web player – BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD or Demand 5.

All Virgin TV customers can access Broadcaster VOD, however, some features and live channels are only available to TiVo subscribers. Various functionality extras are offered through the player, such as the ability to create playlists, remote control and there is an inbuilt recommendations tool which suggests shows and movies based on the previous viewing.

Pre and post-roll opportunities will be available across TV Anywhere, on desktop and mobile, in Q2 2016. However, Virgin Media TV VOD is available across a range of on-demand and catch-up content on set-top boxes from providers such as FOX, Universal, Discovery, Turner. Advertisers can access pre and post roll ad slots, up to 90” in length and a range of targeting options such as location, time and audience.

Written By


  • TV Advertising