They may be rivals in the U.K., but The BBC and ITV are teaming up overseas with plans just announced for BritBox, and ad-free streaming subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service for U.S. customers initially before branching out into other global markets.
AMC Networks, which operates BBC America as a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, will be taking a non-voting minority stake in the service which will launch in the first quarter of 2017. Pricing details have yet to be revealed.
The service will include a mix of dramas such as “Tutankhamun,” “Cold Feet” and “Silent Witness” as well as soaps such as “EastEnders” and “Emmerdale”. Some of these will air within a day of their UK broadcast.
There will also be drama premieres of shows never seen in the U.S., along with a classics section offering up the likes of “Brideshead Revisited,” “Pride and Prejudice,” Upstairs Downstairs,” “Fawlty Towers” and “Keeping Up Appearances”.
The plan is to make “the best and most comprehensive British streaming service in the US” says ITV interactive chief Simon Pitts to The Guardian. It will likely take on Acorn which launched with only UK product but has since branched out to offer series from numerous countries.
BritBox will also be offered in the UK but won’t replace either the BBC iPlayer or ITV Player services, rather its main draw in that market will be box set-style content of shows which have moved out of the 30-day catchup window of iPlayer and ITV Player.