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ITV, BBC announce BritBox UK launch

UK broadcasters ITV and the BBC will launch their joint streaming service BritBox in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Carolyn McCall

Originally intended to provide UK programming to viewers abroad, BritBox first launched in the US and Canada in 2017.

In February this year, it was announced the service would also be made available in the UK as a local rival to Netflix.

The UK service will cost £5.99 (US$7.50) a month for programmes in HD that viewers will be able to stream ad-free across multiple screens and devices.

In a joint statement, ITV and the BBC said BritBox will offer UK viewers “the nation’s favourite programmes” and act as “the home of the largest collection of British boxsets.”

Programmes recently broadcast on ITV and the BBC, such as Love Island, Famalam, Cleaning Up and Gentleman Jack, will be made available on the service, as will older programmes like Gavin & Stacey, Victoria, Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm.

It will also provide content from other British broadcasters and production companies.

In addition, BritBox is commissioning a range of original series made exclusively for the service. The first new show is expected to be commissioned soon and made available to BritBox viewers in 2020.

Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said: “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. 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.

Tony Hall

“ITV and the BBC have made, and continue to make, the programmes that both reflect and shape British culture and creativity. We now look forward to working together to launch the largest collection of British boxsets ever – bringing the very best in past, present and future British programming and award-winning content to viewers all in one place.”

BBC director general Tony Hall added: “We have a world-beating TV industry with outstanding content. The BBC and ITV are at the centre of that. Together, we have been responsible for delivering the majority of ‘must-see’ moments on British TV over the last decade. That must-see content will now be on BritBox.

“But this service isn’t just about the past. With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future. Importantly, these shows will be truly British, showcasing our culture and telling distinctive stories. It’s what makes real British TV so special.”

BritBox in the UK will be an ITV-controlled venture, but the BBC will contribute to its development and strategic direction.

ITV initially holds 90% and the BBC 10% of the equity. The BBC has an option to acquire additional shares over time of up to 25% in total and ITV will have the ability to bring additional investors on board.

ITV will be able to appoint a majority of the BritBox board while the BBC’s equity stake provides it with board representation from the outset.

BritBox will have its own dedicated management team led by Reemah Sakaan, group director of ITV SVoD. Sakaan reports to Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, who has overall commissioning responsibility for the service.

BritBox will pay market-rate fees for all content provided by ITV, BBC and other rights owners.



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