BBC AND ITV have shared plans for their soon-to-launch UK Netflix rival Britbox.
The service, already available in the US, will launch in Blighty in the last quarter of 2019, so we'll be able to watch an endless stream of repeats this Christmas. Plus ca change.
Unlike other streaming services, Britbox will include HD as standard and be available on multiple devices at once, both of which are often charged as a supplement by its rivals. Britbox will be owned and operated by ITV, with the BBC owning a 10 per cent stake, possibly rising to a quarter in the future.
Costing £5.99 per month also means it undercuts Netflix, but its content will have a distinctly British flavour.
The service will be a portal for shows that have fallen off their respective catch-up services and as such represents a replacement for the dying embers of the sell-through DVD market.
The BBC recently announced that it had received provisional approval to keep shows on its iPlayer service for one year. ITV will have its own cut-off point, which will cover its own separate regulations.
The news comes at a time of huge controversy for the BBC which was yesterday revealed to be exploring a subscription offering for its linear channels, replacing the licence fee.
Both companies have already committed to providing original programming for the Britbox service too, which might quell some of the criticism from those who believe that subscription television would essentially be "paying twice" for licence fee-funded shows.
But with existing services about to balloon, with offerings from Disney, Discovery and several other major broadcasters in the pipeline, the question remains over whether Brits will be willing to pay £6 per month for another streaming service.
Netflix and Amazon currently control the streaming market on both sides of the Atlantic, though many shows currently licenced will revert back to their host broadcasters in the coming months as the streaming rivals prepare for launch. μ
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