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BritBox tops two million subs outside UK, sets South Africa launch date

Ex-BBC director general Tony Hall and ITV CEO Carolyn McCall announce BritBox

BritBox, the joint-venture SVoD service from ITV and the BBC, will launch in South Africa on August 6 after reaching two million subscriptions outside of the UK.

BritBox’s debut in South Africa will mark its fifth territory, following launches in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

BritBox has experienced an 18% rise in subscriptions to two million in the US, Canada and Australia, while in the UK the platform now has around 555,000 subscriptions, marking a 10% increase on this time last year.

BritBox debuted in North America in March 2017 and announced it had surpassed 1.5 million subscribers in October 2020. It launched in the UK in November 2019, followed by Australia in November 2020.

Last year BritBox announced a global roll-out that would take the service into 25 new territories, bringing audiences a collection of UK shows and box sets, drama premieres and live events, as well as original commissions.

The subscription stats were released as part of ITV’s interim financial results today, with the broadcaster also revealing growth in subscriptions to its domestic SVoD service ITV Hub+, which offers its content on-demand without advertising. Subscriber numbers rose in the first half of 2021 to 452,000, a 10% increase on the first half of 2020.

Elsewhere in its results, ITV reported 26% growth in total group revenue year-on-year to £1.83bn (US$2.54bn) from £1.45bn, boosted by a 29% increase in advertising revenue to £866m from £671m and a 26% rise in revenue at production/distribution arm ITV Studios to £798m from £632m.

ITV said growth in its studios business was helped by the fact a “substantial majority” of programmes were back in production following delays caused by the pandemic. It also said it benefited from a number of programmes and licences being delivered earlier than expected. ITV Studios’ external revenue was up 31% at £523m.

Looking to the rest of the summer in the UK, ITV said it is encouraged by the advertising outlook and expects advertising revenue to increase by 68% in July year-on-year, and by between 17% and 20% in August.

Carolyn McCall, ITV’s CEO, said: “Our first-half results demonstrate that ITV is emerging from the worst effects of the pandemic. We’ve continued to implement our key strategic priorities and have further strengthened the business. We are optimistic about the future, despite the ongoing pandemic risk on our advertising and ITV Studios revenues.”

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