People/Biz

ITV, BBC to launch BritBox in the UK later this year

British commercial network ITV and pubcaster BBC are scheduled to launch their joint subscription streaming service BritBox in the UK in the fourth quarter of this year. BritBox originally launched throughout ...
July 19, 2019

British commercial network ITV and pubcaster BBC are scheduled to launch their joint subscription streaming service BritBox in the UK in the fourth quarter of this year.

BritBox originally launched throughout the U.S. in 2017 before extending to Canada in an effort to provide British ex-pats with access to original UK content from ITV and the BBC. However, the two media companies earlier this year penned a deal to bring British boxsets and original series on demand to audiences throughout the UK.

The British SVOD service will be priced at £5.99 (US$7.50) per month in HD and will be made available across multiple screens and devices.

Both ITV and the BBC will also provide a new and regular flow of fresh programs, including the reality dating smash Love Island, as soon as they’re out of their broadcast and catch-up windows. In addition, BritBox will be commissioning a broad range of original series from British production outfits created exclusively for the multi-genre service.

The first new program, the two media companies said, is expected to be commissioned shortly and will be made available to BritBox viewers from 2020.

BritBox will be an ITV-controlled venture, holding a 90% stake in equity. But the BBC, as a founding partner with a 10% equity stake, will contribute to the development of the core purposes and strategic direction of the venture.

The BBC holds an option to acquire additional shares over time 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.

The service will have its own dedicated management team led by Reemah Sakaan, group director ITV SVOD. Sakaan will be responsible for editorial decisions about the service’s content and reports directly to Kevin Lygo, ITV’s director of television, who has overall commissioning responsibility for BritBox.

BritBox is currently in active discussion with other partners to provide content and to distribute BritBox to viewers.

“ITV and BBC have made, and continue to make, the programs that both reflect and shape British culture and creativity,” said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall (pictured, right) in a statement. “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.”

“With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future,” added BBC’s director general Tony Hall (left). “These are exciting times for people who love quality TV. Importantly, these shows will be truly British, showcasing our culture and telling distinctive stories.  It’s what makes real British TV so special.”

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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