ITV & BBC-Backed UK Service BritBox Eyes Euro Co-Productions & May Partner With Netflix & Amazon On British Originals

Carolyn McCall
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The UK version of BritBox, which was recently unveiled by ITV and the BBC, could hook up with a slew of European broadcasters to co-produce high-end scripted content and may also end up co-producing with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

ITV CEO Carolyn McCall told Deadline that there are “all sorts of options” when it comes to funding programming for the service. She said it “may” co-produce with the existing global SVOD services and also hinted at future partnerships with the likes of France Televisions, Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s Rai. The trio of Euro networks are working together under the umbrella of The Alliance and earlier this week unveiled a number of new projects including a remake of Around The World In 80 Days with British producer Slim Film + TV.

“Netflix’s ambition is so different to ours, they do their thing, we do our thing and we do our thing really really well but it’s about Britain, it’s about British content,” she told Deadline. “It all depends on what, with who and how. European broadcasters are aligning and combining on shows and they would be very keen to work with us so there are all sorts of other options.”

The UK service, which shares a name with its U.S. counterpart, will include scripted and non-scripted content. McCall said that she wanted it to have shows that were a “bit bolder, more radical and different” and that it will have its own team of commissioners, which are already being assembled. It will not release viewing figures, as per other SVOD services, but McCall said what would be more interesting would  be to see its subscriber figures.

Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild (BPG) lunch in London, the former Easyjet CEO addressed a large number of topics including Brexit, overall talent deals, Simon Cowell, Love Island, eOne, eSports, Simon Cowell, comedy and Jeremy Clarkson.

She said that it is constantly looking to work with production talent, particularly setting up small production companies with individuals or bringing them in-house. But she said there’s “less and less out there to buy” in terms of high-profile acquisitions. “It was well publicized that we said no [to buying Endemol Shine], largely down to valuation.” She also said that the “ship has sailed” on a potential purchase of Designated Survivor studio eOne, which ITV was linked to last year.

But she said that it would not try to rival the likes of Netflix and Amazon in terms of tying up high-profile writers and showrunners, something she referred to as akin to the old studio model. “We can’t afford to do what Netflix does with [the likes of] Shonda Rhimes. Maybe we don’t want to. Maybe there are other more creative ways.”

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