BritBox has launched in the UK. The long-awaited streaming service, which has enjoyed enormous success with ex-pats and Anglophiles in the United States and Canada since 2017, boasts a slew of hugely-popular BBC and ITV shows from the back catalogue of both broadcasters for some serious binge-watching.
So, if you missed Ricky Gervais in The Office, or the heart-wrenching Christmas special of Gavin and Stacey, this could be the best way to catch-up on both shows, which have passed the expiry date on catch-up services BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.
BritBox currently enjoys around 700,000 paid subscribers in North America and offers access to the likes of Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Upstairs Downstairs, The Young Ones, and Keeping Up Appearances. Unfortunately for Auntie and ITV, a number of these shows are already on Netflix in the UK. So, it’s unclear quite what the appeal would be… unless the BBC and ITV start pulling popular box sets from the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix so that BritBox becomes the only place to stream these shows.
If that doesn’t happen, then it seems the only thing to differentiate BritBox from its closest rivals is the tease of new original BritBox-only content that is supposedly coming to the platform at some point next year.
“The first new show is expected to be commissioned soon and will be available to BritBox viewers from 2020,” the BBC stated in its press release.
According to BBC News, ITV and BBC are pumping “tens of millions of pounds” into this original programming. But with original shows being churned out almost every week from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sky Originals, HBO, and most recently, Apple TV+ …the BBC and ITV have got some serious competition. Of course, nobody is doubting their chops when it comes to original programming – the Bodyguard and Line Of Duty have set viewing records with their most recent season. But is the Beeb really going to make a show of this calibre exclusive to BritBox, or just stick it on BBC One primetime instead?
BritBox this morning announced that it has also signed a partnership deal with Channel 4 for British TV boxsets from All 4 and British films from Film4.
The three-year deal will see 1000+ hours from All 4 – with a range of comedy, drama and non-scripted programmes from across the service, including new series – and for the first time to any streamer, an exclusive Film4 curated service featuring iconic British films. BritBox will bring All 4 to the service in Spring 2020, with new series being available 31 days following transmission of the last episode on Channel 4. Film4 will follow later in 2020.
Alex Mahon, CEO at Channel 4 said: “Channel 4 has always showcased distinctive and diverse British content and, in a world of almost unlimited choice, our public service brand values are more important than ever for viewers. The opportunity to collaborate as PSBs on BritBox extends our track record of partnership and will ensure there is a compelling single destination for the very best high quality, home-grown content.”
BT is partnering with BritBox to create a range of products and offers that feature access to BritBox for millions of customers across its brands and services, and as part of the deal EE will be the exclusive mobile partner for BritBox. That’s all we know for now, with BT and EE promising to share more information about the products, services and marketing in the coming months. But it’s a good start for BritBox content-wise.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division said; “We’re delighted to be partnering with the world’s best streaming providers to give our customers the UK’s best TV experience – offering unrivalled choice and flexibility.
“This deal with BritBox will add more exciting content to our great range of TV services for customers whether they’re watching at home or on the go.”
Samsung will be the first TV to launch the BritBox app and together, Samsung and BritBox have agreed a co-marketing partnership that will see BritBox featured as a “Recommended App” on Samsung Smart TVs. The news comes as Netflix confirmed plans to ditch support for some Samsung Smart TVs.
It’s worth checking out as it’s free. After the trial is up, you’ll just have to decide whether there are enough legacy BBC and ITV shows on services like Netflix, UK TV Gold, or ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer to keep you ticking along. Or whether you need to have another video streaming service in your life.
BritBox will cost £5.99 monthly subscription.
It comes a few weeks after the BBC announced plans to dramatically revamp its iPlayer catch-up service. The redesign is supposedly designed to make it less of a “catch-up service” and more of a go-to destination for box sets, movies and more. Honestly, that makes us wonder what the point of BritBox in the UK really is, but nevermind.