ITV and the BBC are pressing ahead with a joint catchup TV service - but while it'll be available for UK users at £5.99 a month, most UK viewers won't really need it.
BritBox is currently available in the US and Canada and up until this point has really been for North American viewers who want to see past UK TV shows - the stuff they aren't able to get via traditional channels like BBC America. BritBox will launch in the UK in the autumn.
So what does it bring to the table for the UK? For one thing, it will give access to the vast back catalogue of shows from the ITV and BBC. So if you want to watch original Doctor Who, Prime Suspect or old episodes of Luther on demand, for example - the kind of stuff that's long gone from BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub or never graced those services in the first place.
You'll also be able to watch newer programmes as well should you want to concentrate all your viewing in one place.
There will be some new shows commissioned for BritBox as well from 2020, although surely these will come to traditional TV channels as well in due course.
More content might also come to the service - a joint statement from the BBC and ITV as they signed the deal for the service said "BritBox is in discussions with other partners to provide content and to distribute BritBox to viewers and future announcements will follow in coming months". So could Channel 4 and 5 also join the party? If they did, that would make it a more compelling 'one-stop-shop' option.
Analyst Paulo Pescatore from PP Foresight reckons that despite other services having a massive head start, "pricing is punchy and the content offering looks attractive. Key to its success will be distribution and partnerships with cable, pay TV and telco providers.”
While that makes sense, we still can't help but feel that Britbox is really a service for viewers outside of the UK who can't access iPlayer and ITV Hub - especially with the growing numbers of box sets and advent of longer catch up windows on those services.
That said, if your Nan is round at Christmas and she loves All Creatures Great and Small and Vera, it could be £6 well spent.
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