BritBox launches in the UK after finalising deal with C4
The BBC and ITV's joint streaming service BritBox has launched in the UK today, after signing deals with Channel 4, BT and Samsung.
Channel 4 had been conspicuously absent from the BritBox line-up as the service struck deals with Channel 5 and Comedy Central earlier this year, but has now signed a three year deal to provide content from All 4 and Film4.
Over a thousand hours of British TV boxsets from All 4 will be launched on the service in spring 2020, with new series available 31 days after transmission of the last episode on Channel 4.
British films from Film4 are to follow later in the year.
“Channel 4 has always showcased distinctive and diverse British content and, in a world of almost unlimited choice, our public service brand values are more important than ever for viewers," said Alex Mahon, CEO at Channel 4.
"The opportunity to collaborate as PSBs on BritBox extends our track record of partnership and will ensure there is a compelling single destination for the very best high quality, home-grown content.”
Meanwhile, BT is partnering with Britbox to create a range of products and offers that feature access to the service for customers across its brands and services, with EE the exclusive mobile parter for BritBox, while Samsung will be the first TV to launch the BritBox app.
Samsung and BritBox have also agreed a co-marketing partnership which will see BritBox featured as a "Recommended App" on Samsung Smart TVs, and joint marketing activity to take place in the run up to Black Friday and Christmas.
Reemah Sakaan, group director ITV SVOD, said the partnership deals underline the "quality and scale" that BritBox hopes to embody.
“BritBox is all about bringing together the best of British creativity and talent in a new digital world," she said.
"It’s wonderful to be bringing such a wealth of brilliant British TV and film to subscribers from today, and I’m looking forward to revealing our exciting, original commissions in the near future.”
A rival to the likes of Netflix and Amazon, BritBox will be an ad-free service providing both recently broadcast shows and British box-sets. Original BritBox content is expected to follow.
The service will cost viewers £5.99 a month in HD and across multiple devices. In comparison, Netflix's most popular standard plan is now priced at £8.99 a month.
So far the reaction on Twitter has been mixed, with many people saying they feel they have already paid for much of the content via the licence fee.
Other fans were happy that old episodes of shows such as Cold Feet and Doctor Who - which until now have only been available to buy as individual boxsets - would be hosted on the service. However, of the thousands of tweets, the majority were negative.
Commenting on the news, Fergus Hay, CEO and partner at creative agency Leagas Delaney, said the launch of BritBox is a "small but important" step back towards consolidation in the interests of consumers.
"But this is a transitional moment: expect more consolidation via over the top offerings that address the consumer need for single access.”