ITV has confirmed it is in the final stages of bringing its SVOD joint venture with the BBC to the UK.
ITV used its annual report to confirm that the BBC and ITV are in the “concluding phase of talks to bring BritBox, the subscription video on-demand service, which has over 500,000 subscribers in North America, to the UK.
The BBC and ITV are now working on a formal legal agreement. In a joint statement, the BBC and ITV said they anticipated that other partners will be added to BritBox and both will speak to regulators and the wider industry about their proposals.
BritBox in the UK will provide a collection of British boxsets and original series, on demand, all in one place, and would provide the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service.
There are also plans for brand new commissions for British production companies specifically created for BritBox.
ITV’s net investment in BritBox will be up to £25 million in 2019, rising to around £40m million in 2020 and declining thereafter. This is in addition to the previously announced £40 million essential investment for 2019. Details of how much the BBC will be investing in the project remains unclear at this stage.
Responding to the announcement, Ofcom said it wanted to see broadcasters “collaborating to keep pace with global players, offering quality UK content that’s available to viewers whenever and however they want to watch it”, confirming it was “looking forward” to discussing the plans with ITV and the BBC.
Carolyn McCall, CEO of ITV, commented on the news:
“I am really pleased that ITV and the BBC are at the concluding stage of discussions to launch a new streaming 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.”
BBC Director-General, Tony Hall, said:
“I am delighted that the BBC and ITV are working together on something truly special – BritBox. A new streaming service delivering the best home-grown content to the public who love it best. The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an exciting time for the viewing public.”