But what exactly is BritBox, when is it coming, how much will it cost and why does the name seem familiar? We explain all here.
What is BritBox?
The BBC and ITV have signed an agreement to bring BritBox to the UK.
It will be an original, paid-for streaming service available on multiple platforms, much like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney's forthcoming Disney+.
However, its mandate is more specific; it will host the "biggest collection of British content on any streaming service". In addition, the BritBox team will have the budget and funds to commission original shows from British production companies that will be exclusive to the service.
"BritBox will be the home for the best of British creativity - celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and investing in new British originated content in the future," said the CEO of ITV, Carolyn McCall.
Why does the name seem familiar?
BritBox will only be new to the UK when it launches; it is already available in the US and Canada.
Also a venture of the BBC and ITV, the North American BritBox has been available since March 2017 and has grown to over 500,000 subscribers.
It is slightly different, however, in that it is simply a portal for British programming, with archive and recent shows available on demand. There is no original programming on the existing BritBox proposition.
Haven't the BBC and ITV done this before?
The BritBox concept was first explored by the BBC and ITV, along with partner Channel 4, in 2008 under the name Project Kangaroo.
That was to be a subscription-based streaming service for box sets from the three broadcasters but it was turned down by the competition commission at the time as it "would restrict competition in the supply of video on demand (VOD) services in the UK".
The project was eventually killed in 2009 after tweaks to the concept were also rejected.
Instead, the UK video on demand market is now largely dominated by American services.
Will Channel 4 be part of BritBox too?
Although BritBox is currently a joint venture between just the Beeb and ITV, they are open to talks with other broadcasters, such as Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV: "We are committed to making BritBox UK a great success. Discussions continue with other content and distribution partners and we are looking forward to making further announcements in the coming months," said McCall.
Is this the end for ITV Hub and BBC iPlayer?
As a paid subscription service, BritBox is not pitched as a competitor to the free on demand services from individual broadcasters.
There are no signs whatsoever that the BBC or ITV will devalue their own free online offerings. Indeed, the BBC is still pressing ahead with plans to expand its iPlayer service, with longer periods content is available for catch-up and more.
If anything, BritBox is a direct competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and there are suggestions that the BBC and ITV will gradually remove their content from those platforms after launch.
When will BritBox be available in the UK?
At present, plans have to be approved by regulators - we don't want another Project Kangaroo debacle, after all.
However, if they are given the green light, it should be available from the third quarter of 2019. It will be run by ITV, but the BBC will continue to lend tech support as a founding partner.
How much will it cost?
Pricing was revealed in July 2019. It will cost £5.99 per month for HD video across "multiple screens and devices". That's cheaper than most rivals in the UK.
Netflix, for example, costs £7.99 per month in the UK for access to HD content, while Amazon Prime Video is the same if you subscribe to the streaming service outside of Amazon Prime yearly membership.
What devices will BritBox be available on?
There is no confirmed UK device list yet but, in the US, BritBox streaming is available on the following:
- Android devices
- Apple iPad
- Apple iPhone
- Apple TV (4th-gen)
- Google Chromecast
- PC and Mac (through browser)
There is no reason to expect any different in the UK.
You can sign up for more information on BritBox on its official website here.