BBC Boss Tony Hall: BritBox UK Will Help Deal With “Profound Shift” Brought By New Streaming Competitors


BritBox’s forthcoming launch in the UK will support producers, actors, writers, directors and will help the BBC deal with the “profound shift” set by the Hollywood giants as they aggressively push into streaming.

BBC Director General Tony Hall made the claims at the Media & Telecoms Conference, where he was talking alongside execs including ITV boss Carolyn McCall, his partner in BritBox.

The two companies revealed last week that they were in the final stages of launching the service, which already exists in the U.S., in the UK.

“It’s hard to overstate how profoundly and rapidly the giant global players are reshaping the market around us. Analysts estimate that Netflix spent as much as $13B on movies and shows last year. Amazon has a content spend of around $5 billion. They’re reportedly setting aside a reported $1 billion for five series of Lord of the Rings. Disney has a $100 million budget for a single series of Star Wars. Remember: the BBC’s TV content spend taken altogether is around £1.5B across a whole year. And all the time, new competitors are flooding in. Disney, Apple, Comcast, WarnerMedia… We’re expecting new streaming services from them all,” he said.

He said that BritBox was a way for British public service broadcasters to respond to this shift.

“BritBox will provide an unrivalled collection of British boxsets as well as new original series that you won’t see anywhere else, on demand, all in one place. And, crucially, UK audiences will always know who to credit for what they’re watching. Both ITV and the BBC will have full branding and attribution at service and programme level.This is a partnership that supports the whole PSB ecology. And we hope others come on board too,” he said.

Hall urged that, despite a relatively small amounts of money compared to the U.S. giants, it will commission new originals. “It will support producers, actors, writers, directors – in fact our whole production community. For me, it’s another reminder of just how central a role the PSBs play as the engine-room of our creative economy. Businesses have been built on those foundations. Exports around the world are built on that creative strength. PSB values and purposes infuse the whole system.”

He warned that in the next five to ten years digital services will be the only ones some audiences use. “Not long ago, traditional broadcasters and media organisations could each do our thing and expect audiences to make time to come to us. Now we must fit around their lives. Deliver value directly to them. Or we all risk irrelevance. This is a profound shift,” he added.

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