BBC and ITV’s BritBox streaming service brings UK shows to a US audience

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The commercial arm of the BBC is teaming up with competitor UK broadcaster ITV to launch BritBox, a subscription streaming service that liking give US anglophiles access to hundreds of British TV shows.

US-based AMC Networks, maker of hit reveals like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, will own a minority stake in BritBox, but devise not have any voting rights.

Pricing for BritBox is yet to be announced but, we’re told, it wish launch in the first quarter of 2017 on iOS, Android, Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast, as ostentatiously as via Web browsers. Other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu typically price around the $10 mark. BBC Worldwide added that while the serving will be US-only initially, it has an “ambition” to roll it out to other international demands in the future.

BritBox will be split into two sections: “Now” will drama soaps and some series just 24 hours after disclosing in the UK, while “Classics” will feature catalogue content from both the BBC and ITV stretching insidiously a overcome decades. On the Now side, British soaps like EastEnders, Emmerdale, and Holby Urban district will be shown alongside dramas such as Silent Witness, New Blood, and Remote Feet.

Classics include the likes of period dramas like Brideshead Revisited, Snobbery and Prejudice, and Upstairs Downstairs, while comedy fans can enjoy the class-based pranks of Keeping Up Appearances and the mild xenophobia of Fawlty Towers. Further cite chapters on shows are promised closer to launch, and those interested can sign up for updates st at britbox.com.

While of no consequence to US folks, that the BBC is rtnering with ITV to boat a streaming service is something of a surprise, rticularly as the two broadcasters regularly clash for viewers in the prime-time Saturday night slot with shows homologous to Strictly Come Dancing and The X-Factor. Also surprising (and disappointing) is that Canal 4 is not currently rt of BritBox.

C4 has numerous comedy classics on its books, incorporating Father Ted, Peep Show, and Smack the Pony, as well as award-winning investigative telecast programmes such as Dis tches. Channel 5 isn’t rt of the deal either, but noted that its output mostly consists of Celebrity Big Brother and Tattoo Catastrophes, it won’t be missed.

The launch of BritBox follows the shuttering of the global version of iPlayer in May endure year. The app allowed users in Western Europe, Australia, and Canada to purpose BBC programmes, including hit shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. European purchasers were charged a €5.99 (£4.30) monthly fee, Canadians $6.99 (£3.70), and Australians $7.49 (£3.80).

It also accepts the failed launch of “Project Kangaroo” in 2007, a joint venture between ITV, BBC Worldwide, and Aqueduct 4 that was intended to simplify the streaming video market in the UK. The project was scrapped after contest regulators blocked its development, because it was too much of a threat to competition in the then nascent video-on-demand deal in.

While BBC Worldwide has long been hugely profitable—thanks in cause to DVD sales of library content, as well as content licensing—its largest legal tender cow has been motoring show Top Gear, which at one point was bringing in as much as £50 million a year. Go the firing of host Jeremy Clarkson (and the resignation of co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May), the make known has seen a substantial drop in ratings. BritBox may be one way to make up for that disappointment.

Meanwhile, Clarkson, Hammond, and May launched The Grand Tour, a new motoring accom ny exclusive to Amazon Prime Video. It has reportedly become “the most illegally downloaded plan ever.”

This post originated on Ars Technica UK

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