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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BritBox
BritBox logo.svg
Type of businessJoint venture
Type of site
Available inEnglish
Area served
OwnerUnited States & Canada:
  • BritBox LLC [1]

United Kingdom:
  • BritBox SVOD Limited [2]

Australia:
  • The BritBox Australia Partnership
Founder(s)
Key people
  • Soumya Sriraman
    (President, BritBox North America)
  • Moira Horgan
    (Country Manager, BritBox Australia)
IndustryEntertainment, Internet
Products
  • Streaming media
  • Video on demand
Services
  • Film production
  • Film distribution
  • Television production
  • Television distribution
ParentBritBox LLC & The BritBox Australia Partnership:

BritBox SVOD Ltd:
DivisionsNorth America
UK
Australia
URLwww.britbox.com (US & Canada)
www.britbox.co.uk (UK)
RegistrationRequired
Users1,000,000 subscribers (US & Canada only)
Launched
  • 7 March 2017; 3 years ago (2017-03-07) (United States)
  • 14 February 2018; 2 years ago (2018-02-14) (Canada)
  • 7 November 2019; 10 months ago (2019-11-07) (United Kingdom)
Current statusActive

BritBox (stylised britbox) is an online digital video subscription service created by the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom, United States and Canada,[3][4] with an anticipated launch in Australia in late 2020.[5] It is focused on British television series and films, mainly featuring current and past series and films supplied from the main UK public service broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), in addition to original programming. BritBox is said to feature the biggest collection of British box-sets available in one place, with more original programming set to be available from 2020. BritBox's focus on British content has led to the service being described as a 'niche streaming service' in the US.[6]

BritBox's launch in the United States was announced in December 2016, with it launching on 7 March 2017.[7] It launched in Canada on 14 February 2018[8][9] and proposals for a UK launch were finalised on 27 February 2019, with the service launching in the United Kingdom on 7 November 2019.[10] A launch in Australia for late 2020, was announced on 5 March 2020. The service in the UK and the international services are operated differently. There are content restrictions between each platform, leading some content to be available on one platform and unavailable on another.

BritBox provides new episodes to British soaps and dramas such as EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks, within hours of their UK broadcast via BritBox's 'Now' feature to US and Canadian users, but also includes extensive archives of older programming, such as the popular Doctor Who classic series on the service. It reported a subscriber base of 250,000 within a year since launching in the US.[11] In 2019, 650,000 subscribers were reported from the North American platform.[12] In 2020, the number of US and Canadian subscribers surpassed 1 million users.[13] User numbers for the UK platform have not been reported but were described as being "on plan".[citation needed]

History

Failed "Project Kangaroo"

Though not officially described as its successor, BritBox has been likened to an earlier attempt by UK public service broadcasters (PSBs) (BBC Worldwide, ITV plc and Channel 4) to create an online video-on-demand download service, codenamed "Project Kangaroo" in November 2007. This followed the launches of the broadcasters' own video-on-demand services.

On Wednesday, 4 February 2009, Project Kangaroo was blocked by the then Competition Commission.[14]

The commission stated that the case surrounding Kangaroo was about the control of valuable UK-originated TV content. "BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 together control the vast majority of this material, which puts them in a very strong position as wholesalers of TV content to restrict competition from other current and future providers of video-on-demand services to UK viewers," said Peter Freeman, the chairman of the Competition Commission, in its final report on Project Kangaroo. "We thought viewers would benefit from better video-on-demand [VoD] services if the parties – possibly in conjunction with other new and/or already established providers of VoD – competed with each other."

A Channel 4 spokesperson said at the time, "This is a disproportionate remedy and a missed opportunity in the further development of British broadcasting."

After the planned Project Kangaroo was blocked, the system's assets were sold to transmitter firm Arqiva and this led to the development of the service SeeSaw, which operated from February 2010 to October 2011, with content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, some of which (such as Doctor Who) now appears on BritBox.

Rise of streaming

Since the rise of Netflix and subsequent other Subscription Video on Demand services (SVODs), European PSBs and media companies in particular, have started to find ways to compete with the increasing dominance of American SVODs, and many old rivalries have also been put aside in Europe and to collaborate by creating joint SVODs, such the like of BritBox but also France's Salto (backed by networks TF1, France Télévisions and M6), and German-based Joyn (a joint venture between ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery).[15] Such actions are motivated by reports showing younger generations shunning terrestrial TV, and PSBs have been told to adapt to avoid becoming insignificant and left out.

Establishment of joint venture & launch in US

Following increased competition from the streaming giants on the public service broadcasters, the BBC (through BBC Worldwide) and ITV announced plans to create a Netflix-style TV service. Talks between the BBC and ITV to launch this streaming service took place in March 2016, with NBCUniversal also initially in the talks.[16] The BBC and ITV announced several shows they would be running on Britbox including New Blood, Tutankhamun, The Moonstone, In The Dark, Cold Feet and crime series Silent Witness on US launch.[17] BritBox's launch in the United States was officially announced in December 2016, with it launching on 7 March 2017.

International expansion

Launch in Canada

On 14 February 2018, BritBox launched in Canada. Soumya Sriraman, President, BritBox North America, said, "We know that Canadians have a deep affinity for British culture and the extraordinary television programmes produced in the UK, so launching BritBox in Canada has always been at the top of our list. The fact that we can also, for the first time ever, premiere some of the most popular British programmes and big special events such as Trooping the Colour as soon as 24 hours after their UK premiere is – hopefully – the cherry on the sundae."[18]

Launch in UK

In February 2019, it was announced that BritBox would be launched in the UK later in the year as a rival to Netflix.[19] Journalist Mark Lawson likened the proposed project to BBC Worldwide's previous failed platform, Project Kangaroo, which was expected to launch in 2008, and described it as "bizarre" and "hugely risky".[20] In March 2019, Channel 4 confirmed interest in collaborating with the BBC and ITV.[21] McMafia, Last Tango in Halifax, Les Misérables and the sitcom Gavin & Stacey were some of the first programmes to be confirmed available on the UK version on launch.[21]

In July 2019, the BBC and ITV announced they had signed an agreement to launch BritBox in the UK in the last quarter of 2019.[22]

On 20 September 2019, ITV announced they had reached a deal with ViacomCBS for Channel 5 and Comedy Central UK content.[23] This was followed by an announcement on 27 September that Samsung TVs, Freeview Play and YouView would be the first distribution platforms [24]

In October 2019, BritBox launched its "testing phase" (beta) in the United Kingdom, in which users can sign up for a free trial to have a "snapshot of what will be there at launch".[25]

One day before UK launch, on 6 November 2019, the Guardian reported that Channel 4 is to join BritBox after the two signed a 3-year deal to provide 1000+ hours of content 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".[26][27] This means for the first time, all the UK's traditional channels have managed to successfully bring together programmes on a single streaming service. Channel 4 content will be available on BritBox from April 2020 and Film4 content from September 2020, with recently aired content being only available on BritBox 31 days after the airing of the last episode on Channel 4.[27] Channel 4 currently has not taken an equity stake in BritBox.

In March 2020, ITV described BritBox as "on plan" following its UK launch last November. The majority-owner in the BBC-ITV streaming venture reported a "strong growth" in subscribers, but didn’t report any specific numbers.[28]

Launch in Australia

On 5 March 2020, BBC and ITV announced that BritBox is to launch in Australia, the service would bring Australians "an unrivalled collection of great British TV shows, and will build on the successful launch and operation of the service in both North America (USA and Canada) and most recently in the UK". BritBox is anticipated to launch in Australia in later 2020 with British content from across the past decades, including classic and contemporary box sets from the UK, to be directly available to Australian viewers via a wide range of mobile and connected home devices.

BritBox Australia will be run as a 50/50 joint venture partnership between ITV and BBC Studios, and ITV says, the service will draw on the experience of the teams and technology used to successfully launch BritBox in North America and the UK while also recruiting a local team to conduct Australian operations.[5]

On 21 August 2020, ITV and BBC Studios announced they're set to invest more than A$35 million (€21.2m) into BritBox Australia, which is scheduled to launch in late 2020. BBC Studios and ITV will both invest A$17.7m ($12.7m) into the new SVoD platform over the next three years. ITV has since confirmed to the London Stock Exchange that BritBox Australia is on track to launch on time despite the Covid-19 pandemic, following the confirmation of investment from the UK broadcaster’s subsidiary "ITV SVOD Australia Pty Ltd" into the BritBox Australia Partnership (branded as “BritBox Australia”) over a period of three years.[29][30]

Further expansion

On 15 October 2019, BBC Studios global distribution president, Paul Dempsey, admitted there were more markets where the UK-skewing service could work. Alongside the upcoming launch of BritBox in Australia, taking the service into its fourth market, BBC Studios and ITV have announced that they will continue to evaluate new opportunities for the roll-out of BritBox in additional territories around the world.

On 27 July 2020, BritBox announced plans to expand the service to 25 more countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa. It was not specified which countries BritBox is targeting or what timeframe the rollout is expected to be completed.[31][32] Following the announcement, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said: “This international expansion plan will firmly establish BritBox as a global premium brand in a rapidly growing sector” and BBC Studios CEO Tim Davie added: “BritBox has very quickly found a place in viewers’ hearts and we know there is further appetite amongst international audiences who love great British content.”

One million users and profitability

On 5 December 2019, ITV's subscription video on demand Group Director Reemah Sakaan said in an interview that the service in North America had reached profitability;[33] this was followed in 2020 by news that the service there had surpassed 1 million users.[13] A study commissioned by the UK media regulator Ofcom previously predicted that BritBox could have 2 million UK subscribers by the year 2023, alongside newly launched US-based SVODs Disney+ and Apple TV+.

Ownership

BritBox is a joint venture between ITV plc and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (and its commercial arm BBC Studios on services outside the UK), this is advertised with the tagline "by BBC & ITV" emphasising the ownership of the service. Ownership of the joint venture differs between the countries it operates in, largely due to restrictions on BBC (TV Licence) funding between domestic and international services.

The service in the United States and Canada is owned by BritBox LLC.[3] A joint venture of BBC Studios and ITV plc, both owning a 50% equal majority share each.[34] AMC Networks, the BBC's joint partner on the US cable channel BBC America, is an investor and has a non-voting minority stake in the service. Concerns have risen since their purchase of a vested stake in RLJ Entertainment (who owns a rival British TV service Acorn TV) and their own Shudder SVOD service.

The service in the United Kingdom is owned by BritBox SVOD Ltd.[4] ITV plc is the controller,[35] owning 90% of the joint venture, with the BBC holding the remaining 10%, with the option of increasing their share to 25%.[36][37] Channel 4 and Channel 5 currently have no equity share in the platform.

The service in Australia is operated by the BritBox Australia Partnership, equally owned (50%) by both BBC Studios and ITV plc. It is scheduled to launch in late 2020.

BritBox Ownership by Country
Country Launch Date Entity BBC Share ITV Share Minority Share Notes
 United States 7 March 2017 BritBox LLC BBC Studios 50% ITV plc 50% AMC Networks -
 Canada 14 February 2018 BritBox LLC BBC Studios 50% ITV plc 50% - -
 United Kingdom 7 November 2019 BritBox SVOD Ltd BBC 10% ITV plc 90% - BBC has the option to increase share to 25%.
 Australia TBC (~late 2020) The BritBox Australia Partnership BBC Studios 50% ITV plc 50% - -

Content

Original programmes

In September 2017, BritBox released a reconstruction of the Doctor Who story The Wheel in Space using the surviving episodes and reconstruction using Tele-snaps.[38] In July 2018, The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco made its debut, the first original drama series in which BritBox held a direct production role.[39]

More original content is set to be commissioned and produced for 2020, following the platform's UK launch, with the BBC Media Centre stating "The first new show is expected to be commissioned soon and will be available to BritBox viewers from 2020".[40] The goal is to offer exclusive content only available on BritBox, rather than BBC and ITV's UK VOD services BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. The annual budget for original programmes will be in the tens of millions of pounds according to BBC News.[41]

ITV has pledged to invest up to £65m in the joint venture over the next two years, and the BBC has said their pledge would be in the "tens of millions".[42]

Reemah Sakaan, described the new 2020 projects as an “exceptional roll call of talent.” BritBox had hoped to launch a number of UK series this year, but is now talking about 2021 as the year it makes its mark in original content (partially due to suspension in production due to the Covid-19 pandemic).

Original content for BritBox may not be available on all platforms, in the event of co-productions or rights being shared, some productions may only exclusively debut on a few platforms. Many 2020 content so far is aimed exclusively for BritBox UK, with these programmes being shared with rights holders in the US and Canada or debuting later than the UK.

Drama

Title Genre Premiere Platform(s) Series/episodes Status Notes
The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco Crime mystery 25 July 2018  US debut 1 series, 8 episodes Renewed, co-production between ITV and BritBox US BritBox US's first original[43][44]
The Pembrokeshire Murders Crime drama, Thriller TBA TBA 1 series, 3 episodes In-production, co-production between ITV and BritBox US [45]
Honour Crime drama TBA TBA In-production, co-production between ITV and BritBox US [46]
The Mallorca Files
There She Goes
The Bay
A Spy Among Friends Cold War, Espionage thriller Autumn 2021  UK debut 1 series, 6 episodes Negotiations, co-production between ITV Studios and Sony Pictures Television, shared with Spectrum BritBox’s first drama commission in the UK[47]
The Beast Must Die Revenge thriller  UK debut 1 series, 5 episodes In-production,[48] co-production between New Regency Television and Scott Free Films [49] First drama to shoot for BritBox UK.
Crime  UK debut 1 series, 6 episodes Commissioned, production from Bucaneer Media, shared rights with Cineflix rights
Magpie Murders  UK exclusive Commissioned, production from Eleventh Hour Films, shared with PBS Masterpiece [50]

Comedy

Title Genre Premiere Platform(s) Series/episodes Status Notes
Spitting Image Adult puppeteering, Political satire,
Black comedy
Autumn 2020  UK debut Series 19-, 2 series Commissioned BritBox UK's "first original commission" [51]

Film and television deals

In addition to containing the catalogues of BBC and ITV television, BritBox includes content from Channel 4 (including Film4), and ViacomCBS through the UK channels Channel 5 and Comedy Central.

Other potential networks to offer content or ownership of BritBox include: NBCUniversal (owned by Comcast) and BT. Such collaboration would greatly increase BritBox's catalogue and financial resources when competing with other streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. BT and NBCUniversal were reportedly in early talks with BritBox, but the progress of the talks have yet to be stated, with NBCUniversal investing in their own streaming service, Peacock in the US from 2020[52] and its parent Comcast owning Sky's UK streaming service Now TV, making full collaboration with NBCUniversal unlikely. BT has since signed a partnership with BritBox in which the service will complement it own content.

Arran Tindall, Senior Vice President, Commercial & Content Distribution, Viacom International Media Networks (now ViacomCBS Networks International) said "Under Viacom’s ownership we have significantly increased Channel 5’s investment in original UK content and we’re delighted to bring our popular homegrown content to an even wider audience through BritBox, alongside a selection of Comedy Central’s much-loved UK programming." following the announcement that ViacomCBS content of Channel 5 and Comedy Central UK would be joining the service.[53]

In the early days of BritBox, Channel 4 was reportedly in talks with BritBox for a long period, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall confirmed to RadioTimes.com that talks are "continuing" with Channel 4 and said that they will "welcome Channel 4 to BritBox".[54] On 6 November, the Guardian reported that Channel 4 is to join BritBox, with its content available on the service from April 2020.[26]

However, Channel 4, a publisher-broadcaster, must commission UK content from independent production companies and currently works with around 300 companies across the UK every year.[27] As such, Channel 4 potentially lacks the streaming rights to many of the shows it broadcasts. Many independent broadcasters potentially waive these rights in order to strike other deals with larger SVODs (for outside UK rights) while retaining control over their intellectual property. This would therefore potentially cause the UK platform to have differing content from the international platforms.

Content co-produced between British broadcasters and larger SVODs like Netflix and Prime Video are not likely to be available on all or most BritBox platforms.[55] This includes shows like the ITV Studios produced, BBC series Bodyguard, which a BritBox spokesperson said "Can't come back home", adding that "going forward, [BritBox] won’t licence things to Netflix and Amazon in the first place because we now have a home, a streaming service in the UK".[56]

With programming rights becoming an important issue for BritBox, the BBC and ITV have worked to keep programming rights by making deals, purchasing production companies (as with ITV Studios) or producing content for each other.[57]

Film and television deals for BritBox
Broadcaster Distributor Content provided Date joined Content added Contract Platforms Notes Exceptions
BBC BBC (UK only) Archive, original programming 7 Nov 2019 On UK launch Owner UK Content shared* with BBC iPlayer up to 12 months after airing

Collaborations (with HBO, Prime etc.) are likely not included

Co-produced content with other SVODs.

Leased content to other networks

BBC Studios (internationally) 7 Mar 2017 On US launch US

Canada

Collaborations (with HBO, Prime etc.) are likely not included
ITV plc ITV Studios Archive, original programming 7 Mar 2017 On launch Owner All Content shared* with ITV Hub up to 30 days after airing (UK)

Collaborations are likely not included

Channel Four Television Corporation Channel Four Television Corporation Original programming 6 Nov 2019 Apr 2020-23 3 years UK Content shared* with All 4 up to 31 days after airing

British TV box sets (otherwise available on All 4) and British films (from Film4) only.

Collaborations are likely not included

A collection of twenty-five titles, primarily from the Film4 library, including Trainspotting, Beast, Charlotte Gray and The Hatton Garden Job which will be available on BritBox UK from 17 September. A further twenty-five titles will be added before the end of 2020.[58]

Film4 Original films Sep 2020-23
ViacomCBS

(ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia)

Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd Original programming 20 Sep 2019 Nov 2019 (UK launch) TBC Channel 5 Content shared* with My5 up to 30 days after airing.
Comedy Central UK Original British programming British comedies from Comedy Central only. Non-British Content
BT (Content) Partnership 7 Nov 2019 No content

(promotional)

BritBox will become available to the millions of customers who subscribe to its pay-TV service, which broadcasts programming such as Champions League football[59]
Various British Channels (BBC, ITV, C4 etc) Endemol Shine International Distribution rights to limited programmes 16 Oct 2019 US Canada [60]
Kew Media Distribution 16 Oct 2019 [60]
DRG 21 Jan 2020 Jan 2020 Package of British drama and comedy titles.[61]
NBCUniversal Talks stagnated
UK Performing Arts Royal Shakespeare Company Part of a wide selection of titles added to BritBox’s popular and growing ‘Centre Stage’ collection, which features music concerts, documentaries and comedy and celebrates outstanding British entertainment and performers.[62]
The Donmar Warehouse
Other comedies, tragedies, ballets and operas from the UK’s pre-eminent performers

* after airing, not all content is expected to be on BritBox during the stated time frame.

Other partners
Collaborator Service provided Date announced Available in Notes
BT (Consumer) Products 7 Nov 2019 UK "[BT] to create a range of products and offers that feature access to BritBox for millions of customers across its brands and services", more information in coming months.
EE Exclusive mobile partner 7 Nov 2019 UK A free extended 6-month subscription is available to all EE pay monthly mobile and tablet customers for an extended free trial period.[63][64]

Criticism

Excluded content

This may not apply to all platforms.

'Inappropriate' content

A big part of the BritBox catalogue is the extensive archives of the public service broadcasters, BritBox faces the challenge of hosting content which contains outdated stereotypes and opinions. In response to this, BritBox has announced that it would not include classic homegrown series that are deemed to be inappropriate for modern audiences.

BritBox bosses have said a range of older shows, such as the BBC's Till Death Us Do Part and It Ain't Half Hot Mum, as well as ITV's Love Thy Neighbour, will not appear on the service because of content deemed racist or otherwise unacceptable.[65] Reemah Sakaan, the senior ITV executive responsible for launching the subscription video-on-demand service, said "We also recomply everything that goes on to BritBox [with modern TV viewing standards]. There's also the ability to create bespoke warnings around key programming."

Sakaan confirmed that Till Death Us Do Part, first aired on BBC1 in 1965, which features the bigoted character Alf Garnett, and ITV's 1970s series Love Thy Neighbour, a sitcom about a West Indian couple who move next door to a White British couple, will not appear on the service. Some individual episodes of the BBC's Only Fools and Horses and Doctor Who serial from the original run (The Talons of Weng-Chiang, 1977) are also deemed problematic. In the Doctor Who serial, people of Chinese extraction are termed "inscrutable Chinks" and an English actor performs in "yellowface". Some Fawlty Towers episodes will run with warnings of offensive language. The Doctor Who serial from 1977 has a warning attached indicating "Contains stereotypes that some may find offensive."[65][66]

In June, following the widespread George Floyd protests, shows like Little Britain were removed from BritBox, along with others, due to the use of Blackface in the programme.[67]

Non-exclusive deals

The sale of rights to BBC and Channel 5 content has caused some reporters to be wary of BritBox's viability as a platform for new content, due to deals with larger SVODs to exclusively stream newer BBC content and non-exclusive deals with Sky and Now TV to access Channel 5 box sets.[68] However, many BBC Studios' deals have given licences to some of its content to many other SVODs on a non-exclusive basis. With newer or co-produced series more likely to be exclusive to certain SVODs, shown with the new 2020 original commissions being BritBox UK exclusive. Whereas Sky already has existing deals with not only Channel 5, but Channel 4 and the BBC to have certain box sets on their Sky and Now TV platforms in the UK.[69]

BBC Studios & HBO Max

All current and future series of the 2005 revival of Doctor Who will be exclusive to stream on HBO Max in the US, following a deal between the two, on 1 August 2019.[68] Other content from BBC Studios such as The Honourable Woman, Luther, Top Gear, and the British version of The Office would be available on HBO Max on a non-exclusive basis, meaning they would potentially be also available on BritBox.[70]

BBC Studios & Discovery

On 1 April 2019, a 10-year content partnership was agreed between BBC Studios and Discovery, which will see Discovery become the exclusive global home of the BBC's landmark natural history programmes including the Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Life franchises for SVOD. The Dynasties series, hosted by Sir David Attenborough, is included in the deal, as are future BBC-commissioned landmark series. This deal applies Worldwide except the UK, Ireland and Greater China, meaning such series may be unavailable on BritBox platforms outside the United Kingdom. Upcoming co-produced content between Discovery and BBC Studios would be exclusive to Discovery's upcoming streaming platform outside the UK.[71][72]

The Discovery deal includes around 500 hours of non-exclusive content, which will still be available on other streaming services. A BBC Studios spokesperson told TBI that the relationship with Discovery is "very significant and important but it is not 100% exclusive on all titles in all regions and is therefore able to co-exist alongside regional deals of this type", following BBC Studios' deal to provide factual content to Greek telco OTE's pay-TV service Cosmote TV.[73]

Limitations

With limitations to its budget and original programming when compared to other SVODs, BritBox faces strong competition in the increasingly crowded streaming market. Critics warn that BritBox needs to greatly increase its financial firepower and original programming in order to compete in especially the UK market, against rivals, Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+, following reports more Brits would subscribe to Disney+ over BritBox.[74] Critics say that BritBox is no rival, and cannot rival Netflix without substantial resources. BritBox also faces direct competition with Acorn TV, an American streaming service which provides many British television programmes, among others, with the service recently launching in the UK.

Current platforms

Content restrictions between platforms

The list of available programmes differs between the Canadian, UK and US platforms.[75] For example, BritBox carries Coronation Street in the US but not in Canada, where the corresponding rights have long been held by CBC Television. Meanwhile, in the UK, TV shows, especially produced by independent production companies (like the BBC show Peaky Blinders) may appear on the UK BritBox, as the BBC or ITV have the domestic broadcasting rights, but may not be available on BritBox elsewhere, due to the independent production companies giving international rights to services like Netflix. This means that depending on whether the BBC and ITV owns only the domestic rights, programmes on UK BritBox may not also be available on its American and Canadian platforms.[41] Alternatively, shows like Living the Dream may not appear on the UK BritBox, as it is broadcast by Sky and available on Sky's streaming service Now TV in the UK, but currently appears on the US BritBox.[76]

BBC and ITV content currently on other streaming services are likely to be exclusive to BritBox once the other SVOD licences expire, therefore potentially leading to harmony in programming between the platforms.[42] Any original content produced for all BritBox platforms is set to be exclusively on BritBox, however some UK commissioned content may be UK exclusive.

Whether content co-produced between British broadcasters and larger SVODs, like Netflix and Prime Video, will be on any BritBox platforms is unclear,[55] these include shows like Bodyguard in which a BritBox Spokesperson said "can't come back home", and who added that "going forward, we [BritBox] won’t licence things to Netflix and Amazon in the first place because we now have a home, a streaming service in the UK",[56] they also added that in response to not licensing to other SVODs, since its focus is on UK-produced series, the platform would not compete to acquire the rights to US or international shows.[77]

Recently aired or current shows made for the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 terrestrially in the United Kingdom, would appear on their VOD services, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, My5 and All 4 respectively before BritBox. These shows would then move to BritBox at a later date, then be exclusive to BritBox once the shows have expired on the terrestrial VOD,[57] which is 30 days for ITV Hub and My5, 31 days for All 4 and 12 months for BBC iPlayer.[78]

New content not made exclusively for BritBox, but for the BBC for example, may not be available on BritBox platforms outside the UK, due to deals struck with other SVODs such as HBO Max and Discovery.[79]

United States

BritBox's launch in the United States was announced in December 2016, it launched on 7 March 2017.[7]

Initial programmes on U.S. launch

Among the shows offered upon BritBox's initial launch, were the US premieres of New Blood and Tutankhamun. In addition, other episodes of new programmes available on the service include:

Title Genre Original network Available platforms Status Notes
Casualty Medical drama BBC U.S, Canada Renewed [80]
Coronation Street Soap opera ITV U.S, Canada Renewed
EastEnders Soap opera BBC U.S, Canada Renewed
Emmerdale Soap opera ITV U.S, Canada Renewed
Holby City Medical drama BBC U.S, Canada Renewed

Programmes for 2017

In its debut year of 2017, the service also focused on much of the classic catalogue of British television such as:

BBC shows

ITV shows

And a few shows from other networks like:

*Pilot episode was broadcast originally on ITV.

**Shared with HBO Max.

***Originally a BBC series, which moved to UKTV in 2009.

In 2017, it was said there are more than 2,000 of hours of programming available on launch. A BritBox spokesperson said this number will change, as new shows are "added daily."[81] The programming is offered without commercial interruption.[82]

Content made by/for ITV and the BBC which is currently licensed to other streaming platforms such as Netflix, would be removed once their licences expire.[56]

On 1 August 2019, HBO Max announced its acquisition of library rights to several BBC Studios series, including the first 11 seasons of the 2005 Doctor Who revival, as well as future seasons 12–14. The Honourable Woman, Luther, Top Gear, and the original British series The Office are also some other shows in the acquisition. HBO Max will also stream future seasons of Doctor Who after their initial run on BBC America. Newer Doctor Who would be exclusive to HBO Max, with the other shows in the deal sold on a non-exclusive basis.[68][70]

BritBox Canada-inspired Stacked Logo
BritBox Canada-inspired Stacked Logo

Canada

BritBox launched in Canada on 14 February 2018,[8] on launch the service included a free 7-day trial and in which content can be streamed on the web, on an iOS app, Apple TV, Android, Samsung TVs, Chromecast and Roku. It comes with a free 7-day introductory trial, and priced at $8.99 CAD per month on launch.[9] Users who signed up for the service in the U.S. will be able to access their subscription in Canada.

The catalogue of content on the Canadian platform is similar to the American platform, but minor differences do exist, for example Coronation Street isn't on Canadian BritBox, due to CBC Television holding the Canadian broadcasting rights.

United Kingdom

Coloured variation of BritBox logo
Coloured variation of BritBox logo

BritBox launched in the UK on 7 November 2019 with a 30-day free trial and a subscription price of £5.99 per month with no minimum term contract for HD viewing and multi-screen viewing.[41][83] Unlike other platforms, the UK platform would include content from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 (which includes Film4 Productions), Channel 5 and Comedy Central UK.

Channel 4 content for 2020

BritBox UK signed a partnership deal with Channel 4 in 2019, allowing the service to host over a thousand hours of content from All 4 over the next three years. New series will continue to appear on BritBox one month after transmission of the last episode on Channel 4's channels.

Complete box-sets launching in April 2020 include:

An exclusive Film4 curated service featuring iconic British films was announced to follow the launch of Channel 4 content on BritBox later in 2020.[84] On 21 August, BritBox UK confirmed a collection of 25 titles, primarily drawn from the Film4 library, including: Trainspotting, Beast, Charlotte Gray and The Hatton Garden Job which will be available on the service from 17 September 2020. A further 25 titles will be added before the end of 2020.[58]

Australia

On 5 March 2020, the BBC and ITV announced that BritBox is to launch in Australia in late 2020, and ITV confirmed on 21 August, even despite the Covid-19 pandemic, such launch will go ahead.[5]

Information

Requirements

BritBox is only available to residents of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. UK residents can watch BritBox when temporarily outside the UK but within the EU.[85] Canadian and US residents can use BritBox in both Canada and the US (with differences in show availability due to rights restrictions) but it cannot be used outside of North America (including the UK version of BritBox while in the UK).[86]

Minimal technical requirements

Operating system Version Developer Notes
Windows 7 or later Microsoft
Android 4.4 (Kitkat) or later Google
Mac OS OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later Apple
iOS 10.1 or later

Supported web browsers

Supported browsers Version Developer(s)
Chrome Google
Firefox Mozilla
Opera Opera Software
Opera Chromium Opera Software & Google
Edge Stable & under 2 years old (pre-chromium as of 2020) Microsoft
Edge Chromium Microsoft & Google
Safari Latest and previous stable major version Apple
Android Native Google

Compatible devices

When accessing BritBox not via a web browser

Products Developer(s) Device type(s) Notes Platform(s) Software Date(s) added
iPhone Apple Smartphone, Mobile devices Labelled as 'iOS device' in Help & Support All Dedicated app March 2017 (US)

November 2019 (UK)

iPad Tablet computer Labelled as 'iOS device' in Help & Support and 'iOS tablet' in an ITV press release,[87] likely includes iPad, which now uses iPadOS March 2017 (US)

November 2019 (UK)

Android Devices (Google)

Android phone manufacturers

including:

Samsung

Huawei

LG

Google

Sony

among others

Touchscreen mobile devices

(Smartphones and Tablets)

March 2017 (US)

November 2019 (UK)

Apple TV Apple Set-top box microconsole (TVOS) 4th Generation or later Dedicated TV app March 2017 (US)

November 2019 (UK)

Samsung Tizen TV Samsung Smart TV (2016 onwards) A partnership has been confirmed with Samsung, which will see the BritBox app hosted on Samsung Tizen TVs* from launch onwards (UK).

"Samsung will be the first TV to launch the BritBox app and together, Samsung and BritBox have agreed to a co-marketing partnership that will see BritBox featured as a "Recommended App" on Samsung Smart TV's and joint marketing activity taking place in Q4 as the TV device market heads into its key sales season around Black Friday and Christmas."[27]

November 2019 (UK)
Panasonic Smart TV Panasonic Smart TV

"Premium range"

"Panasonic has announced support for select TVs. The BritBox app now features on all 2019 TVs apart from the GX700 models; the X700B TVs and all above models from 2018, including the FZ series; and the EX, EZ, DX and CX series TVs."[88] "Panasonic’s premium range of televisions has featured the BritBox app since 10th December. "

Panasonic television models which support BritBox: GX800 and above, including GZ series, FX700B and above & FZ series, EX series & EZ series, DX series and CX series.

UK December 2019 (UK)
Vestel Smart TV Vestel Smart TV (2017 onwards) "BritBox is now also available on a range of smart TVs using the Vestel platform, which allows owners of Toshiba, JVC, HITACHI, Bush, Digihome, Finlux, Logik, Luxor, Polaroid, Techwood and more TVs to effortlessly access the service via an app."[89][90] "BritBox will be featured on model ranges from 2017 onwards and support for further Freeview Play compatible models will be added soon,” added Hakan Kutlu, Vice President of Marketing, Vestel." December 2019 (UK)[91]
LG Smart TV LG Smart TV (2014 onwards) April 2020 (UK) [92]
YouView Partnership of:

BT Group

TalkTalk Group

Arqiva

BBC

ITV plc

Channel Four Television Corporation

Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd

'hybrid' set-top box Announcement on 27 September that Samsung TVs, Freeview Play and Youview would be the first distribution platforms [24] (UK).

Used by BT TV and TalkTalk TV, as well as Sony TVs and Humax PVRs. The availability date for BritBox will vary by ISP, manufacturer and model.

Following an update to YouView software, BritBox is available to BT TV subscribers.

The phased release is being rolled out for BT T2100, T2200 & T4000 devices. Found within the Players & Apps section of the device.[93]

March 2020 (UK)

May 2020 (UK) (BT TV)

Freeview Play DTV Services Ltd,

a Joint Venture of:

Arqiva

BBC

ITV plc

Channel Four Television Corporation

Sky

Set-top box The availability date for BritBox will vary by manufacturer and model. 2020 (UK)
Amazon Channels Feature of

Amazon Prime Video

Service The ability to subscribe to Amazon Channels is exclusive to Prime members, but you'll need to pay individual subscription fees for individual channels. BritBox is an available channel for US Prime customers.[94] Available on all Amazon Video capable devices and platforms. US

Canada

via Prime Video app August 2017 (US)[95] June 2020 (Ca)[96]
Roku Roku, Inc. Digital media player US March 2017 (US)
AirPlay Apple Wireless media streamer
Chromecast Google Digital media player "The BritBox Chromecast app allows subscribers to view BritBox on any television with a HDMI port by adding a £30 Chromecast device. Viewers are able to use their iOS or Android smartphone to browse and select from the biggest collection of British box-sets, and then enjoy watching it on the big screen using their phone as a remote control."[89] All Dedicated apps March 2017 (US)

December 2019 (UK)[91]

Amazon Fire TV Amazon "We look forward to adding even more ways to enjoy the best of British creativity in 2020, including more FreeView Play sets, YouView devices and Amazon FireTV." February 2020 (UK)[97]
Netgem.tv Netgem 'hybrid TV platform'

TV streaming service on ISPs and OTT devices

UK January 2020 (UK)[98]

More connected TV platforms & devices to be added in 2020 for UK platform, excluding the Sky Q platform in the UK for the mean time after Sky expressed BritBox as "not something Sky is seriously considering right now".[99]

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External links

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