BritBox, the streaming service developed by the BBC and commercial network ITV, officially launched in the UK yesterday, creating what is being billed as the largest collection of British box-sets available in one place.

ITV, the majority owner of the new service, announced in a statement that BritBox will include brand new and recent programmes as well as a wide range of classic British TV shows.

The long list of classic shows includes all six series of Downton Abbey, seven series of Only Fools and Horses, three series of Gavin & Stacey, Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot, plus all 627 available episodes of Doctor Who, which were originally broadcast between 1963 and 1989.

And in an important development, ITV revealed that BritBox will also feature content from Channel 4 and Channel 5, which effectively brings together all the UK’s main TV channels in one outlet for the first time.

There was no mention of Channel 4 when ITV and the BBC outlined their plans for BritBox in July this year, but now it has been confirmed that Channel 4 has signed a three-year deal to provide more than 1,000 hours of content from All 4 as well as movies from Film4.

All 4 content will appear from Spring 2020 and will be made available 31 days after transmission of the last episode on Channel 4, while Film4 will follow later in 2020.

“The opportunity to collaborate as PSBs [public sector broadcasters] on BritBox extends our track record of partnership and will ensure there is a compelling single destination for the very best, high quality, home-grown content,” said Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4.

BritBox, which also promises popular travelogues and documentaries, will stream in HD across multiple devices and is priced at £5.99 a month – interestingly, a full three pounds cheaper than the standard monthly plan from Netflix.

In addition, BritBox has formed partnerships with Samsung and telco giant BT that will see Samsung become the first TV maker to launch a BritBox app as part of a co-marketing agreement.

Meanwhile, BT has agreed to create a range of products and offers that feature access to BritBox for millions of customers across its brands and services.

Commenting on the launch, Luke Bozeat, COO at MediaCom UK, said: “With the launch of BritBox, Britain’s ‘traditional’ broadcasters enter the VOD market armed with an affordable price point, and a combination of exclusive new and classic shows that appeal to multiple generations.

“The eagerly awaited move is a clear attempt to be a competitor to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sky’s Now TV, as well as incoming entrants Disney+, HBO Max and many more.

“It’s a necessary shift for all four UK broadcasters that have arguably failed to reach younger audiences who consume content on phones, laptops and tablets.”

Sourced from ITV, BBC; additional content by WARC staff