itv1Britain’s ITV is launching its first new channel in eight years. Pay channel ITV Encore will debut later in 2014 on Sky‘s platforms and will be dedicated to the best of the broadcaster’s British drama. ITV’s flagship station, ITV1, is home to Downton Abbey, Broadchurch and Mr Selfridge, among others. I understand the play for Encore is to air series like murder mystery Lucan and Brenda Blethyn detective show Vera, both of which are produced by ITV Studios. From 2015, ITV Encore will act as a further outlet for original British drama with high-end series to be commissioned for the channel with big talent attached, ITV promises. The channel bow is part of a wider four-year partnership with the 21st Century Fox-controlled pay-TV operator, Sky. Under that agreement, ITV content will be made available through Sky’s various range of connected platforms including Sky+HD, Sky Go, NOW TV and Sky Store. ITV CEO Adam Crozier, deep into a five-year transformation plan at the broadcaster which has reduced debt and resulted in several company acquisitions, said today, “A key part of our strategy is to become the most watched, most loved and most talked about family of free and pay channels for every household and every advertiser in the UK.”