Kenneth Lomas

Kenneth Lomas, Writer

In February 2019, a joint streaming service by the BBC and ITV was announced for later in the year to rival Netflix.

Officially the BritBox platform was announced in March 2017 for the US and Canada, gaining a reported 250,000 subscribers in one year.

Putting aside their rivalry to take on the likes of Netflix and Amazon, Carolyn McCall, ITV’s chief executive, said BritBox would be “distinctively British” and Tony Hall, BBC director general, boasted “the service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an exciting time for the viewing public.” Popular shows, such as: EastEnders and Doctor Who will be available in their full collections and be shown in as little time as 24 hours after airing in the UK.

The service will be completely ad free and available on phone, tablet, computer, Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku.

The service costs $6.99 (£5.29) a month in the US and Canada, currently it is estimated to be around £5 a month for UK subscribers but not confirmed. Even if you opt not to subscribe to the new service, you can expect a rise in your T licence fee to £154.50 a year from £150.50 a year from the start of April.

Ten years prior to this new announcement the Competition Commission had blocked a proposed joint service, offered by BBC and ITV, dubbed ‘Project Kangaroo’. In the time that’s passed Netflix and Amazon services have built large scale streaming operations, with Netflix reporting in its fourth quarter over 148 million streaming subscribers worldwide.

Even more companies, most notably Disney and AT&T, plan to enter the market this year.

This could be a smart decision for ITV which had hit an advertising decline in the later months of 2018 and so shares have fallen with it. They plan on spending £25 million in BritBox with an anticipated £40 million for next year, all in an effort to diversify their revenue.

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