BBC and ITV confirm proposals for BritBox – a new ‘transformational’ streaming service
News that the BBC and ITV are breaking out of their traditional broadcast box to challenge streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix is one of the stranger stories doing the rounds this week.
The use of on-the-go and catch-up streaming services has grown massively in the past five years, reflecting the shift in viewing habits away from the staid and inflexible TV subscription model of Sky, BT and Virgin Media, so spare a thought for the other players in this drama, the legacy terrestrial broadcasters BBC and ITV who are belatedly (and inadvisedly) stepping into the spotlight.
These are thin times for the public broadcasters – the BBC sees a threat to license fee revenue and ITV is fighting over scraps for declining advertising revenue, so it is with some interest that OnTheBox awaits the arrival (in the UK) of their new baby, Britbox.
While the service has enjoyed a pretty good growth since its US debut it seems fanciful that the new service will eat into the market share of the established players. Indeed, it is difficult to see how it can compete if the service is an archive of past programming or how unique commissions sit with public broadcaster obligations. That said, the pair anticipate introducing Britbox to the UK market in the second half of 2019.
“I am delighted that the BBC and ITV are working together on something truly special,” said BBC Director General Tony Hall. The new streaming service will deliver “the best home-grown content to the public who love it best,” he continued. “The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an exciting time for the viewing public.”
That’s all well and good if the promised new commissions and content are of the kind of quality that is being delivered by the likes of Netflix, which this year did the unthinkable by smashing through the Academy Awards taboo on non cinematic releases with a host of nominations (including best picture) for Alfonso Cuaron’s, Roma.
Neither the BBC or ITV have hinted at what the pricing for the service will be at this stage, only that “it will be competitive”. If you are interested in subscribing to BritBox – when it becomes available – can visit the service’s home page, which allows you to sign up for updates but gives no further information www.britbox.co.uk