BritBox is a streaming service dedicated to cherished British TV shows from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5
It launched quietly at the end of last year and is a UK Netflix-style streaming service which will not only show much loved British series from the past but also new commissions specifically tailored for the service. You can watch it on your mobile phone or with a compatible TV device.
It already has over half a million subscribers in the US and according to Carolyn McCall, ITV CEO “will be the home for the best of British creativity – celebrating the best of the past, the best of today and investing in new British originated content in the future.”
Meanwhile, BBC Director General Tony Hall, describes it as: “a new streaming service delivering the best home-grown content to the public who love it best. The service will have everything from old favourites to recent shows and brand new commissions.”
It will not take any money from the license fee and will not replace the iPlayer. Instead, ITV shows will move to BritBox after 30 days on ITV Hub, with BBC shows spending 12 months on iPlayer before transferring to the streaming service. It will include classics such as Downton Abbey, Broadchurch, Only Fools and Horses, Gavin and Stacey, Extra’s and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Poirot.
“Largely, and certainly in the medium term, what is on Netflix will not be on BritBox, what is on Disney will not be on BritBox and what is on BritBox will not be on those services,” McCall says. “They will be unique, they will be distinctive. We are not doing what Netflix does, it is totally complementary.”
With more than 12 million households in the UK now signed up to at least one streaming service, research by ITV has shown that the desire for UK-produced content is high. In fact, 43% of online homes showed a desire to subscribe to a British streaming service. This percentage increases to over 50% in homes that are already Netflix customers.
So what are the key differences between the BritBox streaming service and the others on the market?
BritBox costs £5.99 and can be accessed by up to 5 devices in HD. Netflix’s Standard Plan is the same price but only allows one device at a time in standard definition.
Amazon Prime costs £7.99 a month. BritBox is also cheaper than the major NOW TV passes (£7.99 for Entertainment Pass, Sky Cinema Pass £11.99, Sky Sports Pass £33.99).
Apple TV+ is cheaper at £4.99 a month. However, the streaming service hosts a much smaller library than BritBox.
Despite BritBox positioning itself as the supplier of quintessentially British content, it has faced difficulties securing rights to some old BBC and ITV work, already snapped up by Netflix or Amazon, or available on in-house sites, BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub. In fact, if you want to watch the BBC’s Line of Duty, Bodyguard, Call the Midwife, Peaky Blinders – you still need Netflix. However, when Channel 4 joins, the content will get more interesting and if you want access to ever Doctor Who ever made, BritBox is your box.
BritBox subscribers will be able to access the content in a similar way to Netflix and Amazon Prime with the app being available to download on:
- Apple TV
- Selected Samsung Smart TVs
- iPod touch
- Android phones and tablets
So with the arrival of Disney Plus this year, there will soon be five streaming services available to subscribe to (Netflix, Amazon, Apple, BritBox, Disney) plus your TV license fee. It’s a good job that you won’t have the time to leave the sofa with all the binging you will be able to do as you won’t be able to afford to go out anyway!
From March 13th 2020, customers purchasing an EE phone at Chitter Chatter can get 6 months free BritBox access.
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