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BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, and ITV, the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster, have formed a new joint venture that sees the two British content powerhouses combine forces to launch BritBox, an ad-free SVoD service, in the US during Q1, 2017. AMC Networks, which has a joint venture with BBC Worldwide for cable channel BBC America, is investing in BritBox with a non-voting minority interest. BBC Worldwide and ITV share an equal majority stake in the joint venture.
The streaming service will celebrate the very best of British TV, and offer the most comprehensive SVoD collection of British content in the market today. For decades, BBC and ITV have produced iconic British television series, and for the first time these shows will be combined in a single, curated service allowing fans to find the classic shows they love and discover new hit series.
The BritBox proposition will feature:
BritBox will be available on responsive web, mobile (iOS and Android), Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast at launch in the U.S. There is also ambition to roll out the service in other international markets. Pricing for the service will be available at launch.
“The BBC and ITV are the two most prolific content producers and broadcasters in British television – both known for their unrivalled, ground-breaking shows,” said Ann Sarnoff, President, BBC Worldwide North America. “BritBox will offer a streaming experience like no other, with thousands of hours of programmes across a wide variety of genres – some of which will be available right after their UK broadcast. This will be a must-have service for lovers of British television.”
Simon Pitts, ITV Managing Director of Online, Pay TV and Interactive said, “Britain produces some of the best television in the world and we’re delighted to be bringing the creative might of the BBC and ITV together for the first time in this exciting new streaming service for US fans. BritBox will be the best and most comprehensive British streaming service in the US; a rich catalogue of classic, new, and exclusive shows easily accessible to US viewers all in one place. ITV is now a global production and distribution business and this marks the first step in our international ambitions for BritBox.”
Josh Sapan, AMC Networks President and CEO, said “The BBC and ITV each have a long history of creating spectacular premium content and some of the most iconic shows on television. We are delighted to expand our current partnership with BBC Worldwide and view this investment as a strategic opportunity for AMC Networks to participate in a digital platform dedicated to offering shows of the highest quality. We think this service will be irresistible to people who value creative content and great television.”
The US market for SVoD services is estimated to reach the $8 billion mark by end of 2016, according to research firm SNL Kagan, with some 110 million subscriptions. The BBC Worldwide/ITV partnership is consistent with both companies’ stated aims of growing their international pay and distribution businesses, and will also allow British producers and talent to reach a wider audience in the world’s largest media market.
Full details of the BritBox service, including additional titles and price, will be released at launch.