Written by Shona Smith on Nov 7, 2019. Posted in General Interest

BritBox launches in the UK a week after Apple TV plus

As competition heats up in the streaming landscape, BBC and ITV launch joint venture BritBox in the UK. The service is marketed as the biggest collection of British Box Sets available from a single streaming service featuring past, present and original British content. A large selection of drama, factual and films from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 and Comedy Central UK are available on the platform.

A north American version of BritBox has been available in the US and Canada since 2017, which ITV CEO Carolyn McCall noted “is proving to be very successful, exceeding its targets”. With around seven hundred thousand subscribers, North American viewers can indulge in both past and current series such as Vera (pictured), UK soap operas Eastenders and Coronation Street available within hours of UK broadcast, simulcasts of live events such as the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, as well as original commissions such as The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.

For UK audiences, BritBox curates past British programming, exclusive streaming for recent series as they expire from catch-up windows, as well as original content for the platform. ITV CEO Carolyn McCall says there is demand for a British SVoD service, insisting that “we are not a substitute for Netflix, we are complementary to Netflix” and recent research from YouGov indicates that 23% of adults would be interested in subscribing to the service at GBP5.99 per month. Moreover, streaming households in the UK now subscribe to an average 1.4 services, with consumers who chose to cord cut are instead electing for a montage of streaming services. As an increasing number of streaming platforms launch including Apple TV plus and Disney +, competition will only increase.

Examples of shows that can be accessed on the service include all Classic Doctor Who episodes, originally broadcast between 1963 and 1989. Numbering over six hundred, they will be available to stream from boxing day. Other box sets available on the site include Only Fools and Horses, Downton Abbey, Broadchurch (pictured) and Doctor Foster and Happy Valley. The service also has BritBox exclusive drama Lambs of God. Recent dramas are also available, such as Wolf Hall and The Trip.

In addition, a partnership with Channel 4 ensures that British TV boxsets from All4 and British films from Film4 coming to the service throughout 2020. Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon says “Channel 4 has always showcased distinctive and diverse British content and, in a world of almost unlimited choice, our public service brand values are more important than ever for viewers. The opportunity to collaborate as PSBs 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”.

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