By Ryan Louch
A new streaming service, bringing British TV together has launched.
The new service, called Britbox, offers shows from channels such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, giving access to more than 1,000 hours of content, and will cost £5.99 a month.
Britbox brings the largest collection of British TV content to be assembled in one place and will not require a TV license unlike BBC IPlayer.
“Britbox will be the home for the best of British Creativity – celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and investing in best new British originated content in the future,” said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall.
As with other streaming services, like Netflix, consumers can sign-up for a free 30 day trial, although they will have to enter their card details and once the trial ends, they will then begin to receive the £5.99 charge unless they cancel.
The service is available for Android and iPhone as well as smart TV’s and AppleTV+.
The platform has partnered with BT to feature access to BritBox on its products and EE as its mobile partner.
British favourites like Downtown Abbey, Love Island, Happy Valley, Gavin and Stacey and Only Fools and Horses are featured, as well as all 627 episodes of Doctor Who, which were broadcast between 1963-1989.
Britbox also has its first exclusive drama ‘Lambs of God,’ a gothic tale about three nuns who are a generation apart living in an isolated convent by the coast, debuting on the service.
With a deal due to start in 2020 with Channel 4 and Film 4, the service has the potential to come toe-to-toe with US streaming service Netflix as licences expire meaning more BBC and ITV shows will appear on the platform.
One limitation of the service is that it will not have access to current or recently aired shows by ITV or BBC and will not act as a replacement for BBC iPlayer and the ITV Hub.
New shows will be likely to move on to BritBox after they have become available on catch-up first, with ITV shows available to stream after 30 days on ITV Hub and BBC shows spending 12 months on iPlayer before moving on to the new platform.
Britbox is a step from BBC and ITV to become competitive in the streaming world as the service goes face-to-face with Netflix and Amazon.
With Netflix and Amazon already having an existing UK customer base is it a risk worth taking for the two leading UK TV channels to take this step into unknown territory? Or will the UK public get behind and pay what is a smaller fee and change from the norm to support what will be their local service?