BritBox: Terrestrial broadcasters enter the streaming wars

December 23, 2019

2 min read

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What's going on here?

Britbox, the brainchild of ITV and BBC, will give consumers access to ITV, BBC, Channel 4, Film 4, and Channel 5 – for ÂŁ5.99 a month.

What does this mean?

The “best of British” joint venture has assembled British broadcasters to make its own claim in the streaming wars against Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV and Disney. BritBox will be the largest archive of British television available in one place. British hits such as: Love Island, Gavin and Stacey, Downton Abbey and many more are available for binge sessions on demand.

For its £5.99 price tag, BritBox immediately undercuts Netflix’s £8.99 subscriptions. However, it is not as low as AppleTV+’s £4.99 a month offering. BritBox also puts UK consumers at the heart of its product, addressing a unique gap in the streaming market. Currently, the dominant streaming services are based in the USA and are primarily aimed at the US market. 

What's the big picture effect?

The streaming market is still immature although the competition within it has proven to be fierce. Therefore, the exact size of the market for subscription-based on demand video services is unknown. Despite this, ITV senior executive Reemah Sakaan has emphasised that they “intend for [BritBox] to be profitable”. Research done by Ampere Analysis also showed that on demand video services were taken up by people aged between 45 and 64.

However, there is also the concern whether consumers would be willing to pay to watch shows and films which would only be available on BritBox once they were dropped from services such as ITV Hub, BBC iPlayer, and All 4. On top of this, questions were raised if consumers would pay extra for shows that their TV licence fees already covered. 

In response to these concerns, back in July, BBC director general Lord Hall likened the new streaming service to “releasing a programme on DVD”. The implication of this idea is that BritBox is a modern solution to the problem of a favourite being taken off BBC iPlayer without a DVD release.

Report written by Heerim Hwang

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