The UK’s two largest TV networks said in a statement that BritBox will be competitively priced at £5.99 per month – the same as the basic packages offered by its US online rivals – and that the service will launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
Subscribers will be able to view BritBox in high definition across multiple screens and devices and are being promised a huge range of shows, from the latest hits like Love Island and Gavin & Stacey to the broadcasters’ extensive archive of classics.
Recent programmes on ITV and BBC will switch to BritBox after the time limit has expired on their own free catch-up services, ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer.
As well as being “the home of the largest collection of British boxsets”, the two companies intend to commission original content specifically for the new streaming service. As noted by the Financial Times, this is a strategy that Netflix has deployed successfully with hits shows like “House of Cards”.
“The agreement to launch BritBox is a milestone moment. Subscription video on demand is increasingly popular with consumers who love being able to watch what they want when they want to watch it,” said Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV.
“They are also happy to pay for this ease of access to quality content and so BritBox is tapping into this, and a new revenue stream for UK public service broadcasters.”
Also commenting on the initiative, BBC director-general Tony Hall said: “This service isn’t just about the past. I am really excited about the new shows it will commission.
“With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future. These are exciting times for people who love quality TV. Importantly, these shows will be truly British, showcasing our culture and telling distinctive stories.”
The statement went on to explain that ITV currently owns 90% of the joint venture, but that the BBC has an option to increase its stake from 10% to 25% over time.
In addition, the two companies plan to launch a “high-profile” marketing campaign to promote BritBox as well as exploring how best to connect viewers between BritBox, ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer “as they search for the content they wish to view”.
BritBox has already found success in North America, where it was launched in 2017 and has since grown to 650,000 subscribers.
Sourced from ITV, BBC, Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff