BBC and ITV Announce UK 'BritBox' Streaming Service to Rival Netflix

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British broadcasters ITV and the BBC have announced joint plans to create "BritBox," a subscription streaming service for UK audiences to rival the likes of Netflix (via Reuters).


The two companies already offer a similarly named streaming service for the U.S., but today's news was about a new video-on-demand service for British audiences, which will offer subscribers a place to watch both well-known television series and original programming, according to ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall.

"This will provide an unrivaled collection of British boxsets and original series in one place," she said.

"We anticipate that other partners will be added to BritBox and we will both speak to regulators and the wider industry about our proposals."

The service is set to launch in the second half of 2019 and will be priced competitively, according to both broadcasters, although no further details were given.

BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub already provide British viewers with free catch-up streaming services featuring a limited range of programs, but the broadcasters claim research shows viewers embrace streaming and would be willing to add another service to current subscriptions, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky.

The BritBox streaming service for U.S. audiences is said to be ahead of expectations, having already broken through targets with over half a million subscribers.

Top Rated Comments

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22 months ago
I already (begrudgingly) pay a TV License so that I can watch the BBC via live TV and the iPlayer service, but they want me to pay another subscription fee??
[doublepost=1551268545][/doublepost]

Wait for it, someone will mention the TV License.........

Well yeah. Obviously
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago
Seems to me that this would be a double-dip for UK viewers and more than a bit cheeky because the content has already been paid for at least once over by licence fee payers and advertisers.

However, for non-UK viewers it would open up 40-50 years worth of quite good telly. And maybe earn the BBC enough global revenue to lower the licence fee and ITV enough to reduce their ad breaks to say 10 mins an hour instead of 22.

PS. That last sentence was, of course, monumentally sarcastic.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago
I’m not sure people understand how the license fee works.

The license fee covers “live broadcasts” and iPlayer, which mostly comprises of a 30 day catchup service. Some programmes are hosted for longer depending on who produced it and for which service. A lot of the content is owned by independent production companies and then licensed to the BBC, same with all the terrestrial UK broadcasters.

The BBC, here, are offering a new service. Post catch up which is clearly way above and beyond live broadcast and the 30 day catch up. People seem fine watching BBC content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for an additional fee, after this initial free shelf life, so it makes sense for the BBC to do the same in order to ensure more of the aftersales is sent their way.

My main concern however, is that many of these newly announced alternatives to Netflix won’t last very long as there’ll be too many of them, with too much content competing for our wallets. They’ll end up having to be very niche and possibly hosting exclusive content. The BBC and the indies supplying them, rely on coproduction money for its bigger programmes, sometimes with Netflix contributing so not all the content will be exclusive... but Britbox sounds pretty niche for overseas markets! Hopefully it will work for them. It might be better if more UK broadcasters were on board too.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago
Wait for it, someone will mention the TV License.........
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago


ITV and BBC unfortunately are two TV services that users have a good up-to-50-years-worth of user experience where we don't pay for this, because we've already paid. So it'll take quite an offer to change hearts and minds and get people to pony up for this.

***Edit*** Oi, you lot above me in the comments! Yeah, it's a bit hard to talk about this topic without mentioning that particular room sized elephant.

As both the BBC and ITV have to convert those 10-50 year old tapes to digital, a fiver a month might not be a bad price for 40 years of content (and is it's not live/near-live, or iplayer, no need for TV Licence). To make it really work they would have to get BBC Studios to stop selling the content to Netflix and Amazon, making it a singular place to get the content, much like Disney is moving to right now.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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22 months ago

People seem fine watching BBC content on Netflix and Amazon Prime, for an additional fee, after this initial free shelf life, so it makes sense for the BBC to do the same in order to ensure more of the aftersales is sent their way.

I also wouldn't be at all surprised if the BBC and ITV now greatly reduce, if not remove their content from Amazon Prime and Netflix, at least in the UK.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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