BBC and ITV to launch BritBox streaming service to rival Netflix

19 July 2019, 09:58 | Updated: 20 July 2019, 08:59

The BBC and ITV have signed a deal to launch subscription service BritBox in the UK before the end of the year.

The service will cost £5.99 a month in HD and stream across multiple screens and devices.

Both broadcasters promise that it will be full of the nation's favourite programmes and will also commission a broad range of original series made exclusively for the service.

The BBC's director general Tony Hall added that he was "really excited" about the new shows BritBox will commission.

"With a remit to be daring and different, many future classics will be commissioned and live on BritBox for the future. These are exciting times for people who love quality TV.

"Importantly, these shows will be truly British, showcasing our culture and telling distinctive stories. It's what makes real British TV so special."

The BBC's iPlayer will retain programmes for a year after they broadcast on TV, and then they will transfer to BritBox.

Carolyn McCall, ITV's chief executive, say: "The agreement to launch BritBox is a milestone moment.

"Subscription video on demand is increasingly popular with consumers who love being able to watch what they want when they want to watch it.

"They are also happy to pay for this ease of access to quality content and so BritBox is tapping into this, and a new revenue stream for UK public service broadcasters."

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BritBox, which bears the brands of both the BBC and ITV, is already available in the US and Canada and in January it confirmed it had passed half a million subscribers.

"We now look forward to working together to launch the largest collection of British boxsets ever - bringing the very best in past, present and future British programming and award-winning content to viewers all in one place," added Ms McCall.

ITV owns 90% of BritBox, but the BBC has an option to raise its stake to 25% in the future.

More than 12 million UK households have at least one streaming service and figures from the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board show the number of homes with one is growing by 20% annually.

Netflix, which recently announced it had reached 137 million subscribers worldwide, is available in the UK on the Sky platform.

Some 29 million new members joined the service in 2018, 33% higher than the 22 million paid subscribers it added in 2017.