British broadcasters unite to challenge Netflix

BritBox

The BritBox streaming service is already available in the US. Image: PA

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The BBC and ITV plan to challenge Netflix with a joint UK streaming service showcasing the best of British television.  

BritBox, which could launch later this year, will feature British box set favourites as well as specially-commissioned shows.

The Competition Commission previously vetoed a similar joint service 10 years ago on the grounds that British viewers “value” UK programmes and “do not regard other content as  good substitute”, a move that was heavily criticised by the industry at the time. 

 

ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “We’re not a substitute to Netflix - we’re complementary to Netflix.

“Netflix is global, but when we’re creating content, we’re creating it for the UK.”

She added that ITV will honour existing agreements with other streaming services that feature the broadcaster’s back catalogue, and confirmed ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer would both continue. 

BBC Director-General Tony Hall said the service would deliver “the best home-grown content to the public who love it best”.

“The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an exciting time for the viewing public,” he added.

The BritBox streaming service is already available in the US and Canada, charging users $6.99 per month to stream everything from Coronation Street to classic episodes of Doctor Who.