BritBox is coming. More than two years after the launch of the streaming service in the US and Canada – largely as a way to export UK quality videos – BritBox returns home with a UK launch at the end of 2019.
Like the time-delaying blue box of the BBC Doctor Who TV's iconic TV series, we don't know exactly when it will appear, but there is now a vague window from October to December this year. Exactly on time for a Doctor Who Christmas special, perhaps?
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As a joint venture between British broadcasters BBC and ITV, BritBox bundles various classic and modern TV programs for a monthly subscription of £ 5.99 per month ($ 6.99 in the US). That is the same cost of the Basic Plan of Netflix, although BritBox will include HD quality streaming, while the basic plan dips to SD with a lower resolution (standard definition).
This BBC News article on the announcement confirmed that "many ITV and BBC programs are going to BritBox after they have been broadcast on TV and have fallen from the broadcaster's own catch-up service – BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub."
BBC iPlayer can currently only host content for 30 days after broadcast, although it is attractive for Ofcom to extend this to an entire year instead.
However, not all of these channels find their way to BritBox and the service seems set to host exclusive shows and content that is not available through other channels or services. It also seems like a way to make money with the extensive back catalogs from BBC and ITV, with shows like Midsomer Murders, Doctor Who, Poirot and Gavin & Stacey, which have had countless episodes over the years.
Suffice it to say that not everyone is happy with this.
Am I already donating the BBC?
British viewers already have various options for viewing BBC and ITV content and separating this content into another platform, while maintaining the current catch-up options, feels somewhat complicated.
Obviously, the content catalogs will not be the same, and BritBox content will be able to display content longer than iPlayer, which limits the amount of time after broadcast that you can view something online.
The concern is that more content is being channeled into the BritBox and less and less available via iPlayer. Given that British viewers must legally pay UK licensing fees to access BBC TV channels and iPlayer, another fee will be redeemed in a wrong way. We could see people opting for one over the other, but there is some friction because of the overlap of content – and the fact that the same content will be on different services at different times.
The idea of a joint streaming service between BBC and ITV was suggested by competition watchdogs about ten years ago and it is clear that the players involved are playing catch-up with people like Netflix, especially with Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus on the horizon.
But to BBC News, Ashley Highfield, former BBC CEO, said that BritBox is not "something that takes power from Netflix. It will probably rub beside me."
So do you have to subscribe in the UK? See our BritBox manual for the complete completion of the service, but until it is started and we have solved the problem of people paying the license fees, we are stuck with a lot of messy messages.
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Via BBC News