ITV and the BBC have officially unveiled the launch of UK streaming platform BritBox with ITV holding 90% equity in the venture. The two companies have also revealed the first shows that will be available on the service, which launches in the fourth quarter of the year, including Love Island (above) and HBO co-pro Gentleman Jack.
The service, designed to protect the broadcasters against the growing power of Netflix and Amazon, has been long in the works but today’s news comes after the two parties officially signed the agreement. It will be priced at £5.99.
BritBox, which is separate to its U.S. counterpart, will be an ITV-controlled venture with the commercial broadcaster holding 90% of the equity with the BBC controlling 10%. The public broadcaster has an option to acquire additional share over time up to 25% and ITV will have the ability to bring other shareholders on board. It is expected that the likes of Channel 4 and Viacom’s Channel 5 will be involved in some way.
BritBox will have its own dedicated management team led by Reemah Sakaan, Group Director ITV SVOD, responsible for making editorial decisions about the service content. Sakaan reports to Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television, who has overall commissioning responsibility for BritBox.
Other launch titles include Sheridan Smith-fronted Cleaning Up and BBC comedy Famalam and library titles including Gavin & Stacey, Victoria, Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm will be on the service at launch or shortly after their licensing deals with rival SVODs end. BritBox will also commission original content from British production companies specifically created for BritBox. The first new show is expected to be commissioned soon and will be available to viewers from 2020.
Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, said, “The agreement to launch BritBox is a milestone moment. Subscription video on demand is increasingly popular with consumers who love being able to watch what they want when they want to watch it. They are also happy to pay for this ease of access to quality content and so BritBox is tapping into this, and a new revenue stream for UK public service broadcasters.”
“ITV and BBC have made, and continue to make, the programmes that both reflect and shape British culture and creativity. 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. We are already working together on BritBox in the US and Canada and this is proving to be very successful, exceeding its targets. We are committed to making BritBox UK a great success. Discussions continue with other content and distribution partners and we are looking forward to making further announcements in the coming months,” she added.
BBC Director General, Tony Hall, added, “We have a world beating TV industry with outstanding content. The BBC and ITV are at the centre of that. Together, we have been responsible for delivering the majority of “must see” moments on British TV over the last decade. That must see content will now be on BritBox. But this service isn’t just about the past. I am really excited about the new shows it will commission. With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future. 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.”