The BBC and ITV have announced that they’re bringing a premium streaming service to the UK at the end of the year. BritBox is already available in the U.S. and Canada but will now launch in the UK sometime between October and the end of December. The two firms plan to charge £5.99 per month which will give users access to HD content, that’s the same price Netflix charges to watch content in standard definition (SD).
BritBox will feature archived content from BBC and ITV as well shows that are still on-going. The BBC also revealed that it will be making new shows made specially for BritBox, the first of which is scheduled to arrive next year. The announcement also said that BritBox will be an ITV-controlled venture but that the BBC will “contribute to the development … of the venture”. Overall, ITV will hold 90% of the equity, while BBC will hold the other 10% with the option of increasing that to 25% over time. ITV will also have the option to bring other investors on board.
Commenting on the news, 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.”
Earlier this week, Netflix provided its second-quarter results, revealing that its paid membership grew by 2.7 million users, less than the 5.5 million users that joined in the same period the year before. The firm was hoping to attract 5 million customers in the second quarter this year.
One reason for the drop in Netflix subscribers could be down to the fact that organisations like BBC and ITV are creating their own streaming products to host their own shows. In turn, users find it easier to pirate their content, rather than shelling out $10 for every service they would otherwise need to subscribe to.