The BBC and ITV announced plans today for a new streaming service called ‘BritBox’ to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. The new subscription service will show both archived and original content (though interestingly catch-up will not be available) and it’s USP will be its distinctly British flavour. A previous attempt at a cross-broadcaster streaming service called ‘Project Kangaroo’ was blocked on competition grounds, so we’re glad that Ofcom has endorsed this new endeavour. Announcing the new service, BBC DG Lord Hall said "A new streaming service delivering the best homegrown content to the public who love it best,” he said. “The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions. It’s an exciting time for the viewing public.”
techUK supports this move and believe this is exactly the sort of thing the broadcasters should be doing. There’s been a clear shift towards streaming services, so attempts to use regulation to load the dice against online platforms is only detrimental to the consumer. The best way to compete with these global platforms is to innovate and offer services in a way the consumer wants, not to try and restrict access to content.
It’s unclear as to whether other broadcasters like Channel 4, Channel 5 and UKTV will sign up, but a single platform to get all the best British content regardless of channel will be a strong proposition indeed. It should also be a good boost too for those in the business of selling devices. The BBC and ITV haven’t set out a distribution strategy or whether it will be included in smart-TVs/set-top boxes, but this would be the logical thing to do.
Overall this is a very exciting development and we look forward to engaging with the britbox team to see how we can support adoption of this new service.