The streaming market just got even more fragmented. The BBC and ITV have officially launched their collaborative streaming service, BritBox, in the UK.
BritBox has been a thing in the US for more than two years now, where it has apparently attracted 650,000 subscribers. That’s not exactly a high bar, but we’ll be surprised if it manages to hit that mark in the UK, where it costs £5.99 per month.
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That’s because BritBox has to live alongside BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub, both of which will remain your first stop for any new BBC and ITV shows that you want to stream or catch up on.
BritBox’s main fare, on the other hand, will be the older stuff − though some of this is currently being licensed to various other streaming services.
There is, however, a 30-day free trial on offer. You can sign up here.
“BritBox will be full of the nation’s favourite programmes and the home of the largest collection of British boxsets. In addition to this storehouse, BritBox is commissioning a broad range of original series made exclusively for BritBox,” the BBC and ITV announced back in July.
“BritBox will be the place to view shows recently broadcast on ITV and BBC including Love Island, Famalam, Cleaning Up and Gentleman Jack as well as bringing home iconic shows such as Gavin And Stacey, Victoria, Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm which will be on the service at launch or come onto the service shortly after when licences with other SVODs end.”
At £5.99 a month, it costs the same amount as Netflix’s most basic plan − though Netflix has a much larger catalogue of content − and a touch more than the £4.99 of Apple TV Plus.
BritBox’s library is also likely to be − brace yourself − ITV heavy, since ITV has a 90% stake in the venture.
The BBC and ITV, however, have also promised BritBox exclusives, the first of which is Lambs of God.
BritBox has also snaffled up some content from Channel 4 and Channel 5, both of whom reportedly got involved “as a way to get into the paid streaming market”.
Earlier this year, Channel 4 complained to Ofcom about the BBC’s planned improvements to iPlayer − the main one being shows becoming available on catch-up for up to a year instead of 30 days − arguing that the change is “likely to have a disproportionate negative impact on the other public service broadcasters”.
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It added that the move was likely to have a bigger effect on public service broadcasters’ video-on-demand services than on subscription services like Netflix, because the latter have bigger budgets and revenues.