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New BBC and ITV streaming service Britbox to take on Netflix

Written by: Emma Lunn
Britbox will launch in the Autumn and cost £5.99 a month across multiple devices.

The BBC and ITV have joined forces to offer a streaming service offering thousands of hours of archived material and classic boxsets from the two broadcasters.

BritBox will be the home of the largest collection of British boxsets. Although there won’t be any exclusive programmes available at launch, BritBox is commissioning a broad range of original series made exclusively for BritBox.

Programmes which will be available at launch, or shortly after, include Love Island, Famalam, Cleaning Up, Gentleman Jack, Gavin & Stacey, Victoria, Happy Valley, Broadchurch, Les Miserables, The Office and Benidorm.

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.”

Tony Hall, BBC director general, said: “We have a world beating TV industry with outstanding content. The BBC and ITV are at the centre of that. Together, we have been responsible for delivering the majority of ‘must see’ moments on British TV over the last decade. That ‘must see’ content will now be on BritBox.

“But this service isn’t just about the past. I am really excited about the new shows it will commission. With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future.”

BritBox will be an ITV-controlled venture with an initial 90 per cent stake, and the BBC a founding partner with a 10 per cent stake. The BBC has an option to acquire additional shares over time up to 25 per cent in total and ITV will have the ability to bring additional investors on board.

What does BritBox mean for ITV investors?

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: “This comes at a time when rumours of interest in the group from activist investors or possibility of an outright bid are circulating.

“As expected the launch in the UK will be in the fourth quarter, with the all-important price being £5.99 per month. In the lead up to this there will be a high-profile marketing campaign. With a myriad of options now available to consumers, ITV has had to fight hard to maximise its audience share allied to pressure on advertising rates.

“The strategic refresh earlier in the year has done little to boost its share price, with the shares close to a six-year low. This reflects on the concerns and the thinking that it does not have the clout to compete with the likes of Netflix. Shares are up 1.3 per cent although this could be more to do with aforementioned rumours.”

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