The UK’s BBC and ITV broadcasting networks are at last finalizing plans to form its own Netflix rival named BritBox.
Although there are only two networks involved at this point, it’s intended that other UK TV stations will join the service in future, pending discussions with them and the relevant regulatory bodies.
A site for the BritBox’s UK version is already up, but only lets you sign up for a newsletter. It’s more of a ‘watch this space’ page rather than a source of any major information.
Like Netflix, the service would collect together existing TV shows and host original content. BritBox already exists in North America, where it shows many UK TV shows like Coronation Street, Eastenders and pre-revival Doctor Who exclusively. Its performance so far has apparently pleased both the BBC and ITV, having gathered over half a million subscribers since its launch in March 2017.
This comes over ten years since the original idea, then called ‘Project Kangaroo’, was blocked by the UK’s Competition Commission for giving the publicly funded BBC an unfair advantage over private competitors. Now, with Netflix, Amazon Prime and others dominating the market, giving the BBC and the other networks permission to set up a streaming service of their own is the only way to keep up.
Recently, Freeview, the collaboration between the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, the major free to watch TV networks in the UK, launched an app which collected their catch-up services in one place, although users needed separate accounts for each service.
Once the UK BritBox service goes live, which it’s due to do in the second half of 2019, we’ll be sure to let you know. We might even have some recommendations of what’s good on the service too.